This couple have been arrested for keeping a 63-year-old woman locked up in slave-like conditions for nearly 20 years.
Local media report the couple, named as Elcio and Marina Okido, were arrested for keeping 63-year-old domestic worker Iva de Souza in false imprisonment for around 18 years in the city of Vinhedo, in the south-eastern Brazilian state of Sao Paulo.
According to the Civil Police, the victim had been working in the suspect’s house to look after Marina Okido’s mother, not named but reportedly 88 years old, without pay or other benefits.
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She was reportedly kept locked in a room in the suspects’ house and was not allowed to leave or have contact with anyone outside the household.
The police had reportedly received a report of fraud against the couple and went to their house to question them.
When the officers arrived, they are said to have found the victim who told them she was being kept locked up in the house.
The cops then took the suspects in for questioning and found that a missing person’s report had been filed in the victim’s name by her family in 1996.
The police said the victim had travelled from the southern state of Parana to work for the couple, first moving to the city of Campinas in the state of Sao Paulo before being taken to the new house in Vinhedo.
Investigators say the victim was beaten by the couple and only given food for her work after the patriarch of the house died around 18 years ago.
According to authorities, the suspects also used the victim’s documentation in order to open bank accounts and sign checks without the necessary funds.
The victim reportedly told cops she had left her home when she was just 17 and her sister Odete da Silva Souza said she had not spoken to her in over 40 years.
The 63-year-old was put under the care of workers specialised in elderly people in “situations of risk” while the 88-year-old mother of the female suspect was taken to a nursing home.
The victim’s mother, Maria da Silva, no age given, told reporters: “I’m very emotional. I’m happy to hear news about her. We tried to look for her, tried to call but we didn’t manage (to get hold of her).”
Local media report the suspects are expected to be charged with fraud, torture and false imprisonment.
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