The Bleacher Report is reporting that former Brazilian footballer João Rodrigo Silva Santos has been kidnapped and decapitated by suspected drug traffickers in Rio de Janeiro. Nick Akerman of The Bleacher Report states that the crime has been confirmed by Matt Roper of The Mirror and ESPN staff who reported:
“Santos was grabbed at around 7:45 p.m. after leaving the local health food store he owned in the Realengo district, a lower- and middle-class district located in Rio’s western area.”
Apparently Santos’ head was delivered to his wife in a soccer bag. His eyes and tongue had been cut out of the head.
João Rodrigo Silva Santos played for Bangu, Olimpia, Nacional and Swedish club Oster during his career.
In July, soccer referee Otavio da Silva, 20, was stoned and dismembered by angry supporters after he fatally stabbed a player for refusing to leave the pitch (BBC News). Silva’s head was reportedly put on a stake after the murder.
ESPN reports that Rio’s Police Pacification Units (UPPS) has been cracking down on Rio’s drug gangs ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Earlier this month, over 1,000 police stormed some of Rio’s poorest favelas in a bid to regain control back from the gangs.
Police are searching for a motive in the Santos kidnapping and murder. Santos was 35.