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True Crime In Brazil: 5 Cases That You Need To Know

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

As you might have seen, there are several episodes and movies appearing on Netflix, Amazon Prime and even Spotify, regarding true crimes. Some of these productions can be considered fiction, since they were only inspired in real life… But, they project a crime that actually happened. 

This format of production is not really new, however, nowadays people have been talking a lot about it in social media and these pieces may have serious impact in real life, like the reopening of cases of investigation, revival of old histories that were not yet told and changes in public opinion on the cases.

Most of the pieces are created by journalists and each one goes beyond the crime itself, showing the whole context in which it happened. Current social issues topics, such as childhood abuse and sexism, in addition to problems involving the justice system. 

Here are some indications for you, that are very interested in real crimes and want to go deeper in each one. 

1 – “Caso Evandro” – Podcast, Documentary series and Book

The plot investigates a real episode that took place in 1992, the brutal murder of a six-year-old boy, Evandro Ramos Caetano in circumstances that brought political leaders, secret sects and conflicts between police forces to a mysterious turmoil in the small town of Guaratuba, Paraná.

The deep investigation of the journalist Ivan Mizanzuk resulted in a whole season of the podcast “Projeto Humanos” and later in the television documentary “O Caso Evandro”, available on Globoplay and the development of a book. This is a case full of plot twists and second guesses, because it’s very long and dissolved in many episodes. 

Also, this production is one of the examples that these investigations can have an impact in real life. Celina and Beatriz Abagge, those accused of the boy’s death, spoke freely about the situation many years later and how much they suffered to confess the crime.

2 – “Praia dos Ossos” – Podcast

On December 30, 1976, Ângela Diniz was shot four times in a house in Praia dos Ossos, in Búzios, Rio de Janeiro, by her boyfriend Doca Street, a confessed defendant. But in the three years between the crime and the trial, something happened: Doca became the victim and was released from charges. 

This podcast reflects about the femicide present in Brazil and how the law has saved a man who confessed murdering his girlfriend. This journalistic investigation is really humane and comes back to tell Angela’s whole life story and how she ended up in that situation. All women should listen.  

3 – “Elize Matsunaga: Era Uma Vez um Crime” – Documentary series

Elize Matsunaga was sentenced to 19 years, 11 months and one day in prison for the murder followed by dismemberment of Marcos Matsunaga, her husband and heir to the Yoki empire — the famous food company in Brazil. 

The documentary brings testimonies from people connected to the couple, lawyers, scenes of the trial, as well as the reenactment of the crime, and the most important thing: the first and only interview given by Elize since the incident. 

The series is short, only four episodes, and can be watched in a single day. Elize’s past and her testimonial is brought up by herself, as well as her memories of the crime’s moment. 

4 – “O Menino que matou meus pais” and “A menina que matou os pais” – Movie

In the early morning hours of October 31, 2002, Manfred and Marísia von Richthofen were murdered with blows from an iron bar while they slept at home, in a wealthy neighborhood in São Paulo. Their daughter, Suzane von Richthofen, her boyfriend, Daniel Cravinhos and his brother, Cristian Cravinhos, were considered guilty of homicide and sentenced to almost 40 years in prison. 

The Richthofen case, one of the most shocking in Brazil, is told in two films, “The Girl Who Killed Her Parents” (A menina que matou os pais) and “The Boy Who Killed My Parents” (O menino que matou meus pais), directed by Maurício Eça and released on Amazon Prime Video.

The production was based on the trail and the different stories told by Suzane and Daniel. In “The Girl Who Killed Her Parents”, we see Daniel’s point of view, showing how their relationship started and Suzane’s behaviors that let to the planning of her parents murder. But, to oppose this narrative,  “The Boy Who Killed My Parents” is Suzane’s story of how it all played out. 

5 – “João de Deus: Cura e Crime” – Documentary series

João Teixeira de Faria, known as “João de Deus”, is the protagonist of one of the biggest cases of harassment in Brazil. After gaining international fame with his supposed cures, the spiritual leader was arrested for being involved in numerous cases of sexual violence against his former followers, more then 80 women reported suffering some kinf od abuse from the medium.

This case has two documentaries to help us understand the history of the abuser and the proportions of the case. The first one is “Em Nome de Deus” debuted on Globoplay, produced by the the program Conversa com Bial —  in which the first allegations of sexual harassment against the medium João de Deus appeared, in December 2018. The second is a documentary series on Netflix: “João de Deus: Cura e Crime”, that has some victims testimonies and shows the public vision of him after the accusations.

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Carolina Rodrigues

Casper Libero '21

I'm a journalist that is trying to discover new things. I had great international experiences and would like to share my thoughts, and I will also write about everything that I find interesting. Hope you all like it.
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