Held in captive for 17 years freed Brazilian woman, her children tell of ordeal in detention

Held in captive for 17 years freed Brazilian woman, her children tell of ordeal in detention


Brazilian woman has spoken of her ordeal of being imprisoned – along with her two children – by her husband for 17 years, local media report. The family was rescued from a house in the Guaratiba neighbourhood, in the west of Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, police said. The husband has been arrested.

In comments to authorities quoted by Brazilian news site G1, the woman alleged her husband had said she would only leave the house once she was dead. According to G1, the man – named by authorities as Luiz Antonio Santos Silva – and his wife had been married for 23 years.

After being rescued, the mother reportedly told authorities the three imprisoned family members would sometimes go without food for three days, and were often physically and psychologically abused, G1 reports.

The house in which they were held captive was also squalid, with little light and a dirty interior, pictures released by the police show. The two adult children were tied up, unkempt and starved when they were found, according to police. They are 19 and 22 years old, local media report.

Captain William Oliveira of the military police said in comments quoted by Brazilian newspaper O Dia that he initially thought the two were children because of their level of malnutrition.

“When we saw the state of the two children, we thought they wouldn’t have survived another week,” one local resident told G1.

After being rescued the three were immediately taken to hospital to be treated for severe dehydration and malnutrition, local media report.

The civil police’s internal affairs office has opened an investigation into why the family was not rescued earlier, after it emerged that a tip-off about the family’s situation was first made in 2020, O Dia reports.

  • A BBC report
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