BRAZIL – A former professional footballer was killed and his severed head was found on the doorstep of his home by his wife, according to Rio de Janeiro police.
João Rodrigo Silva Santos, 35, never came home on Monday night. When his wife, Geisa Silva, opened the door to leave for work the following morning, police said she found a backpack with her husband’s head inside.
His eyes and tongue had been cut out, according to Brazilian media reports.
Santos had played for a number of mostly second-tier Rio de Janeiro football teams before retiring and opening a health foods store.
His death comes at a time when football fans worldwide are shifting their focus toward Brazil, which will host the World Cup in 2014.
Police said they found the remains of a man’s body on Wednesday morning in another location and are having the DNA tested to see if the remains belong to Santos.
Police said they wouldn’t comment on lines of investigation. Authorities have interviewed 10 witnesses so far in the case, police said.
Some of Santos’ relatives and neighbors told Brazil’s O Globo newspaper that he didn’t have any enemies and said they didn’t know what could have motivated the attack.
According to local media, Santos’ wife worked for the police in one of Rio’s shantytowns, but as a social worker giving swimming lessons to children, not as a policewoman.
Santos started his football career when he was 16 years old, O Globo reported, and played for several Brazilian club teams off and on from 1996 to 2005.
In 1998, he played for Honduras’ Olimpia club. And in 2003 he played for Sweden’s Oster club, the newspaper reported.