Who Is Evandro Ramos Caetano And Why Is Brazil Obsessed With His Death?
The 6-year-old boy was found mutilated and missing organs after an alleged 1992 cult killing.
On April 6, 1992, a 6-year-old schoolboy went missing in Brazil. Five days later, the child’s mutilated body was discovered in a field near Guaratuba, a city on the southern coast of Brazil.
The Associated Press reported at the time that someone had cut off Evandro Ramos Caetano’s ears, genitals and hands. His intestines, liver and heart were missing.
After the grisly discovery, authorities suspected the child’s death was the result of human sacrifice.
Investigators accused Celina Abbage, the wife of former Guaratuba mayor Aldo Abbage, of paying cult members around $2,000 to kill the boy as part of a good-luck ritual meant to turn around her husband’s failing political and business ventures.
Detective Joao Arnaldo Hobmeir told the news outlet in 1992 that Caetano was killed at a sawmill the Abbage family owned. He said the boy’s blood was mixed with sawdust and tossed in the nearby sea as part of a ritualistic sacrifice.
In what became known as the “Witches of Guaratuba” case, Celina Abbage and her daughter, Beatriz Abbage, allegedly confessed to the crime. The two later retracted their statements to authorities, according to the AP.
The mayor, the mayor’s wife, their daughter, and at least seven other people were among those eventually arrested for their alleged involvement in Caetano’s grisly death.
Oswaldo Marcineiro — who was reportedly a high priest of Umbanda, a normally non-violent Afro-Brazilian religion that combines African traditions, indigenous American beliefs, Spiritism and aspects of Roman Catholicism — and two of his assistants confessed to committing the murder, police alleged.
“There is evidence that points to the existence of an international network of satanic cults,” Detective Hobmeir said at the time.
Aldo Abbage died after his arrest. Following almost six years in prison, Celina and Beatriz Abbage were acquitted of murder in 1998, according to Paraná news outlet G1.
Public prosecutors appealed the ruling. In 2016, a Brazilian court fully pardoned Beatriz of any involvement in the crime. Under Brazilian law, her mother could not be tried a second time because she was over 70.