A retired soccer player in Brazil was found beheaded this week in an apparent attack by drug traffickers. Joao Rodrigo Silva Santos was kidnapped outside his health food store in Rio de Janeiro Monday evening. Later that night, Silva Santos' wife, Geisa Silva, reported him missing. Then, early Tuesday morning, she found the gruesome discovery on her doorstep after hearing a noise and running to the front door. She saw a backpack that had belonged to her husband. When she opened the bag, she discovered the Brazilian soccer player's head -- missing its eyes and tongue. Neighbors living close to the crime scene reported hearing a woman screaming: "My God, it's Joao! It's Joao's head."
"I did not want to look but the people who saw it said they had gouged out his eyes and cut off his tongue," one of Silva Santos' relatives, who desired to remain anonymous, told Brazil newspaper Globo, according to the Daily Mail. "From what I know, he didn't have any enemies and neither did his wife." Eyewitnesses reportedly told police that they saw a group of men attacking Silva Santos and forcibly tossing him into a getaway car. The motives of the murder are still unclear. Police chief Rafael Rangel told Brazil's O Dia newspaper, "Mrs. Silva has no idea who would have done this. Neither have she, her husband or any other member of the family suffered any type of threat as far as she knows. There is nothing that would justify such a barbarous crime."
Police reported today that body parts dumped beside a city river were believed to be those of Silva Santos, and the player's brother-in-law later confirmed it to Globo's website, revealing that family members had positively identified a torso found next to the Guandu river in Queimados, greater Rio de Janeiro, by a birth mark on Silva's stomach. It is believed that this atrocious murder is linked to drugs, since Joao's wife is a police officer who works with the units in charge of guaranteeing safety in "favelas" and they have exposed and dismantled several drug gangs.
The couple lived in Realengo, a neighborhood close to favelas, where last week a massacre was reported after seven alleged drug users were killed. Silva Santos had retired from soccer two years ago after a successful career playing for several teams in Rio de Janeiro, as well as for clubs in Sweden and Honduras. He had established his own business selling health foods and dietary supplements.