Another suspect arrested in decade-old murder of Vitor Belfort’s sister

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

On January 9, 2004, Vítor Belfort’s sister, Priscila, then aged 29, disappeared. For years, no one in the family heard a word.

In August of 2007, a woman, Elaine Paiva, confessed that she participated in Priscilla’s kidnapping and killing, which was part of a plot to raise $4,000 Paiva owed to drug dealers. Paiva was arrested along with three others alleged to be involved in the kidnapping. The group allegedly burned and then buried Belfort’s body in the jungle.

Despite police searches, no remains were ever found. The family has always maintained that Priscilla is alive.

Now, according to the Rio de Janeiro state government, intelligence agents from the Superintendent of Intelligence of Prisons (Sispen), in partnership with the 21th Attorney Criminal Investigation (PIP) arrested Leonardo Luiz Batista on suspicion of kidnapping and murder of Priscilla Belfort.

According to the Department of Penitentiary Administration (SEAP), Leonardo Luiz Batista, aka “spider” or “Léo Weevil” was arrested in the district of Vila Isabel, in the North Zone of Rio. Batista fled the Piragibe Vicente Penal Institute on February 3, along with 31 other escapees, through a tunnel built into the sewer pipe.

According to SEAP, with the arrest of Leonardo, eleven have now been recaptured.

After receiving a tip, officers arrived at the residence of a friend of one of his compatriots. Batista resisted arrest and fled, but was recaptured several blocks away. The case was referred to the 20th Precinct in Vila Isabel.

In March this year, another suspect in the kidnapping and presumed death of Priscilla was arrested after being on the run since 2010. Leandro Ferreira Fernandes, better known as Parakeet, was captured by officers of the 25th Precinct (New Mill) in downtown Rio de Janeiro, where he worked as a valet.

Parakeet was first arrested in June 2006, by the anti-kidnapping operation Division (DAS) in the Morro da Providencia, also in downtown Rio.  Fernandes is believed by the police to be part of a gang of kidnappers, who have killed, burned, and buried Priscilla in January 2004.

Read entire article… (original Portuguese)