Story By: William McGee, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
A wife, husband, son and hitchhiker have been executed in a gold mine massacre in Brazil while a fifth car occupant was allowed to go free because she was pregnant.
The victims were killed near the mine entrance in the municipality of Aripuana in the west-central state of Mato Grosso on 21st November.
The victims’ bodies were found two days later and have been identified as 41-year-old Elzilene Tavares Viana, her son 19-year-old Luiz Felipe Viana Antonio da Silva, her husband, 40-year-old Leoncio Jose Gomes, and 25-year-old gold miner Jonas dos Santos.
The bodies were found by local residents after Jonas was reported as missing after not turning up for work.
According to the police, the victims were driving down from the mining site when they were approached by four armed men who had blocked the road with a pickup truck.
The victims were then handcuffed, taken to a road leading to the neighbouring municipality of Juina, and reportedly executed.
According to the police, Jonas was going to Juina and had hitchhiked with the family.
A fifth person who was with the group survived. The woman believes she was spared because she was pregnant. Her relation to the victims is unclear.
After the crime, the suspects set fire to the family’s vehicle.
The crime is being investigated by the police, who hope to ascertain the motive. At the time of reporting, the survivor has not yet given a statement to the police.
It is unclear what the family was doing at the gold mine, which started out as an illegal venture but was legalised in July last year, employing some 1,500 miners.
The mine was legalised in the hope that it would reduce homicides, drug trafficking, prostitution and other crimes in the municipality.
However, since its legalisation, local media have reported that homicides have increased by almost 300 percent.
No suspects have yet been identified as the investigation continues.
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