A student nurse who had her face slashed open from mouth to ear after she dozed off says cops refused to arrest a knife-carrying woman sitting behind her.
Stefani Firmo, 23, complained that despite finding a knife on the person, which local media indicated was a woman, the cops decided to release her due to a lack of evidence.
Stefani was attacked while she was sleeping during a bus trip from the city of Recife, in the state of Pernambuco, to the city of Salvador, in the state of Bahia, along Brazil’s Atlantic coast, on Tuesday, 29th November, but she only came forwards on social media about it yesterday, on Sunday, 4th December.
Stefani, who is studying to become a nurse, was slashed with a blade from her right ear to beneath her lower lip, with the huge gash leaving her shocked and bloodied.
The cops are investigating the incident, which took place on an interstate bus travelling on the BA-099 state highway.
The young woman said that the bus left Recife at 6:15 pm, set to arrive in Salvador at 7:40 am the following morning.
Stefani said on social media: “At around 5am, I woke up with a searing pain in my face. When I ran my hand over, I found it was covered in blood.
“Someone had cut me violently in the face.”
She said that she immediately went to a friend’s seat, who was also on the bus, who helped with first aid and woke up the other passengers.
Stefani and her friend went to the Police Station in Conde, in Bahia, where agents took statements from some passengers and found a knife on the person who was sitting behind her.
But the young woman said that person was released because, according to the police, there were not enough elements to arrest them.
Stefani said: “The violence I suffered was gratuitous. There was no discussion or anything. On the contrary, I didn’t even talk to anyone other than my friend, during the entire trip.”
The young woman is appealing for the authorities to continue their investigations and for the bus company to collaborate with them and make security camera footage available to them.
She claims that the bus company, named Viaje Guanabara, has still not provided the police with footage, despite receiving a request from the authorities.
Stefani said: “I’m completely scared and shaken.”
She added: “I don’t know if the person intended to seriously cut me or kill me, but the fact is that we can’t even travel safely anymore. We are not safe anywhere.
“I will probably have an eternal memory on my face, which will make me remember this terrible moment over and over again”.
The police, meanwhile, have said that they are investigating the incident.
The Civil Police were quoted in local media as saying that a “report issued by the doctor who treated the victim at the hospital in that municipality characterised the injury as mild”, adding: “Some passengers were heard in the specialised unit, but none of them said they had witnessed the action, as they were sleeping.
“Images from the security cameras of the bus have already been requested, as has an expert analysis of them.
“The images may help in identifying the perpetrator and the reports will define the course of the procedure.”
The authorities added that they are currently analysing the knife to determine if it was used in the attack. If it was, the suspect, reportedly a woman, could be charged with inflicting bodily harm.