They say that life is mostly about being in the right place at the right time and indeed, opportunity often comes when you least expect it. This concept isn’t limited to opportunity either, sometimes being in the right place at the right time, can save someone’s life.
In the case of these Brazilian police officers, they were in the wrong place at just the right time, for what they discovered in the basement of this quaint suburban home, was more gruesome than they could have ever imagined…
The police had been investigating a gang of drug dealers whose base was supposedly located in a Brazilian suburb when they had to make a call in to their police captain. Their plan was originally to go door-to-door in one of the poorest sections of the city to raid the gang’s headquarters. Unfortunately, they hit a bit of a snag.
The Wrong House
The city, which was in the greater Sao Paulo area had burst into a house they thought was empty. But as they searched through the clearly-lived in building, they began to uncover some rather unsettling things. Starting with a terrible smell emanating from the basement…
Such a Smell
As they made their way down into the basement, they were assaulted by a vile, disgusting smell. It smelled as if a septic tank had sprung a leak. But what they found at the bottom of the stairs was worse than they ever could have imagined.
The room in the basement was locked and when they pushed their way through, they came upon a windowless room complete with a filthy bed, a disgusting toilet, and chains on the walls. There was no light source whatsoever and the door had a handle on the outside, but none on the inside…
Toilet and Bedroom
The smell, as it turns out, had been emanating not only from the clearly broken toilet, but from the piles of feces in the corner. To their horror, the policemen flashed their lights around the room and found that someone had been living in there. Well, barely living…
A man was tied to the bed in the corner. His long beard went past his knees, and his finger and toenails had grown to enormous lengths. He was barely alive, severely malnourished, and plainly too traumatized to speak…
Still, the moment police walked into the room and discovered him, the man got up, though very impaired, and stared at them: without uttering a word. He looked as though he had gone through years of torment, more than any human being should ever be made to go through.
Take Him to the Hospital
Police chief Celso Marchiori weighed in on what happened next, “We took him outside and he still didn’t say anything. We didn’t know if he was scared or drugged. He wasn’t able to identify us as police officers. We called for help and he was taken straight to hospital…”
The man was 36-year-old Armando Bezerra de Andrade. Armando had actually gone missing when he was 16 years old and had remained so for the past two decades. His neighbors say that before he vanished, he was a bright young man who was both funny and outgoing. Little did they know, he had been there all along: trapped in his parents’ basement.
His father, Amancio Bezerra de Andrade, and his step-mother allege that they kept their son in the basement because he was a hopeless drug addict. Amanzcio’s story is that his son had only recently returned home asking for a place to sleep. “He showed up at home after being gone for many years and asked me to lock him up so he wouldn’t buy drugs…”
Their neighbors however, have different takes on the amount of time young Armando has been missing. Some claim that the young man hasn’t been seen in the neighborhood for over 15 years while others note that it’s been at least 20. His father, however, was sticking to his story.
Amancio told the police chief, in no uncertain terms, “This is my son, that house is mine, and I was the one who locked him in there, as he had asked me to. He even went on to say that his conscience was clear. Yet, for someone with a clear conscience, he has done his fair share of lying about his son’s whereabouts over the years…
Avoided the Subject
Armando’s childhood friend, Rafael Cunha Sousa, said that his father always seemed to skirt questions about his missing son.”When people would ask him how he was, he would always say he was traveling, or in the countryside, or at a relative’s house…he would never provide us with an address or say where he was.”
Another neighbor, Aparecido Rocha Brasil, said he believed the teenager’s father and step-mother decided to lock him in the room right after he started experimenting with alcohol.He believes that was the catalyst. And while it’s easy for some parents to understand wanting to protect and shield their child, it’s obvious that these were not motives on Armando’s parents’ minds…
War on Alcohol
Aparecido continued by saying that, “Every teenager is curious about these things. But for some reason, when alcohol entered into his life, his family decided to take this approach, and kept him locked up for all this time.” Whatever their reasoning, it’s clear that Armando has suffered immensely.
While he was locked in the basement, Armando was living in some of the most inhumane conditions imaginable “It’s difficult to believe he was in that place for 20 years. It’s a very insanitary place, he wouldn’t have survived,” says Chief Marchiori, “There’s no light at all…”
Today, Armando is being cared for in the psychiatric ward of a local hospital. Even now, his ordeal has left him too traumatized to speak, though he is apparently able to understand but can only seem to respond by nodding or shaking his head in response to questions. While he recovers, his neighbors have begun to come forward in support.
The neighborhood became so incensed when they’d heard what the cruel father and step-mother did to their boy, that they began to act aggressively towards the homeowners, demanding justice for Armando. They even went as far as to spray-paint the outside wall of the house…
Free to Flee
Following these aggressive actions and harsh words, Amacio and his wife seem to have fled the home, their whereabouts unknown. Meanwhile, the police have launched an investigation but have not made any initial arrests.
The police will undoubtedly press charges once they locate the parents and the supportive friends and neighbors have made it clear that police can count on their statements when the abusive couple is brought to trial. It just goes to show you how well people can come together when they want to fight injustice.