Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Brazilian soccer player’s severed head left on front porch

Joao Rodrigo Silva Santos

Joao Rodrigo Silva Santos, a 35-year-old retired professional soccer player was last seen alive being stuffed into his Infinity by gunmen outside his health foods store in Rio de Janeiro Monday evening.

At 5:30 AM the next morning, his wife Geisa Silva, 31, heard a noise, opened the front door of their home and discovered her husband’s backpack. She looked and to her horror she found her husband’s severed head inside. Neighbors described hearing Silva scream, “my God, it’s Joao! It’s Joao’s head.”

His eyes and tongue were gouged out. Police are now searching for the rest of the body as well as leads in the murder.

Police suspect that a drug gang may have wanted revenge on Silva, who was a social worker fighting drugs and crime in the favelas, a large ghetto in Rio.

Mr Santos played for Brazilian, Swedish and Honduran soccer teams between 1996 and 2005.  He scored 33 goals in 103 games and was nicknamed “Humble Hero.”


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