Beatriz case had expert resignation, disappearance of images and eight delegates

The revelation of the suspect in the murder of the girl Beatriz Angélica Mota, who was stabbed to death on December 10, 2015 in a private school in Petrolina, Pernambuco, represented a new chapter in a turbulent investigation.

Beatriz was killed during her sister’s graduation party at Nossa Senhora Auxiliadora College, where her father was an English teacher.

Last Wednesday (12), the Secretary of Social Defense (SDS) announced that the suspect of killing the girl is Marcelo da Silva, 40. When she went to drink water, the girl was scared to have contact with him, according to the folder. According to investigators, Silva would have given ten stab wounds to her body and confessed to the crime in testimony this week.

Silva lived on the streets, according to the SDS, and would have entered the school already with a knife and with the intention of asking the participants of the event for money to be able to leave Petrolina and return to the city of Trindade, also in the Sertão, where he lived with the family.

Photo: reproduction

Beatriz’s murder was the police case that drew the most attention in Pernambuco in recent years. This is because the investigation is long – it continues even with the revelation of the suspect – and has gone through several instabilities.

In the last six years, there were seven expert reports, 24 volumes in the inquiry, 442 testimonies and 900 hours of analyzed images.

The case went through eight delegates, an average of one every nine months. Recently, it was under the responsibility of a task force made up of four professionals.

As soon as the crime happened, the Civil Police believed that they would be able to reach the perpetrator of the crime easily because the party had more than 2,500 people, which would mean a high number of possible witnesses, and given the possibility that surveillance cameras had recorded the movement and possible action of the suspect.

However, footage from the school’s security circuit was initially deleted. An investigation was opened to find out whether the disappearance was accidental or purposeful.

In December 2018, the Pernambuco Court of Justice, at the request of the Public Ministry, ordered the preventive detention of Alisson Henrique de Carvalho Cunha, an outsourced employee of the school.

The court understood, at the time, that he deleted the images and interfered in the investigation. Cunha did not surrender and was considered a fugitive. In September 2019, the court overturned the arrest warrant.

The disappearance of the images began to be investigated in a separate investigation. SDS says all the images were recovered and handed over to the Public Ministry. In addition, three people were indicted in that investigation.

In 2017, images from a security camera outside the school, with not so clear resolution, showed a man walking around the school. He was named as the suspect in killing Beatriz.

With doubts about the direction of the investigation, Beatriz’s parents, Sandro Mota and Lucinha Mota, signed a bond with a US company to carry out a parallel investigation into the case. The details are kept confidential by the family.

The contracted company released in May 2021 a composite sketch of the suspect in the girl’s death.
In December 2021, Sandro and Lucinha took a walk from Petrolina to Recife, asking for justice.

Upon arriving in the capital, on December 28, they were received by Governor Paulo Câmara (PSB) and state secretaries at the Pernambuco administration headquarters.

On the occasion, Câmara expressed support for one of the main claims of Beatriz’s family: the federalization of the investigation of the case.

On the same day, the governor signed the dismissal of expert Diego Henrique Leonel de Oliveira Costa, who worked on the case. According to the SDS internal affairs department, he provided security consultancy through a company in which he is a partner at the school where Beatriz was killed. This type of activity is prohibited by law, according to the government.

Child next to his father – Photo: Reproduction/TV Globo

Accused of the death of Beatriz, Silva was transferred, this Thursday (13), from Salgueiro, where he was being held for rape of a vulnerable person, to a penitentiary unit in Igarassu, in the metropolitan region of Recife.

SDS said it was able to reach the suspect by comparing the DNA of Silva, arrested since 2017 for another crime, with that collected on the knife used in the crime.

His DNA was entered into the state database in 2019, when the database was updated. The first clue that led to his name came in late 2021, when it was discovered that his DNA was the same DNA found on the knife, according to police.

Earlier this year, the suspect was subjected to a procedure related to the other process to which he responds, at which time there was a new collection of his DNA. This material was then used to confirm what the police had previously attested.

The DNA that was on the knife was compared with the genetic material of 125 people considered suspects.

For Beatriz’s mother, Lucinha Mota, the investigation of the case was hampered by the lack of structure for investigation in the Civil Police of Pernambuco.

“What little we have in the inquiry was the merit of people who wanted the inquiry to be resolved. This is the merit of certain people, not the state and the heads of police departments in Pernambuco. This is the good will of the professionals. We criticize the corrupt and the bad professionals, but we know how to recognize the good ones, but unfortunately these good ones are persecuted”, says Lucinha.

In a note, the Public Defender’s Office of Pernambuco reported that it was not called to act in Silva’s defense. Lawyer Francisco Assis de Carvalho Neto, who acted in the other case to which the suspect responds, told the report that he is not constituted to act in the defense of the man in the Beatriz case.

Lawyer Rodrigo Almendra, responsible for the defense of Diego Henrique Leonel de Oliveira Costa, stated that the expert “is not accused of interfering in the Beatriz case and his dismissal is not related to the investigation work”.

The report was unable to contact Alisson Henrique de Carvalho Cunha or his defense. The lawyer who defended him in 2019, Wank Medrado, claimed at the time, in an interview with TV Grande Rio, that the accusation was fragile and that the employee “did not go to the location of the images and removed it on his own, but at the request of school officials who authorized the removal for later delivery of the images to the school”.

The Nossa Senhora Auxiliadora school said on Wednesday that it hopes for the continuation of investigations into the Beatriz case and that “it fully trusts in the elucidation of the case”.

The SDS did not respond to attempts to interview Secretary Humberto Freire and delegates on the case.

In a note, the Public Prosecutor’s Office said that it “requested (from the Civil Police) immediate measures to ensure that the suspect is heard, the protection of his physical integrity and the carrying out of new complementary investigations”.

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