A jailbird has been identified as the alleged killer who fatally stabbed a seven-year-old girl to death before her lifeless corpse was found with 42 knife injuries after she disappeared at her sister’s middle school graduation ceremony.
Beatriz Angelica Mota, 7, was stabbed at a school in the municipality of Petrolina, which is located in the north-eastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco, in 2015, and until now, the police had arrested no suspects for the crime.
The young girl was reportedly murdered during a party at her younger sister’s graduation ceremony at a private school and her lifeless corpse was found in the room where the school kept its sports equipment, with the police analysing security footage at the time in a bid to arrest the perpetrator.
Jailbird Marcelo da Silva, 40, has now been named as a suspect in her death after DNA found on the knife was reportedly matched to him. He is currently serving a separate prison sentence for another, unspecified crime.
Da Silva has been questioned and has reportedly confessed to murdering the young girl. He was formally charged on Tuesday (11th January) over her death, which took place just over six years ago, on 10th December 2015.
The man, who is already in prison for other crimes, was charged after the Scientific Police of Pernambuco reported having identified the suspect of the stabbing of the young girl at a private school.
The incident took place when Beatriz was at her sister’s graduation at the Colegio Nossa Senhora Auxiliadora, which was attended by about 2,000 people. Her father was reportedly an English teacher at the institution.
She left her mother’s side to go to drink water from a drinking fountain and disappeared. The moment the young girl left the graduation ceremony at about 10pm was caught on camera, as can be seen in the images.
The girl’s body was found in the room where the school stored its sports equipment, near where the ceremony took place. The girl had injuries to her chest, upper and lower limbs. The knife used in the crime, similar to those used by fishmongers, was found stuck in the child’s abdomen.
The next day, the knife was sent to the Forensic Genetics Institute in Recife. A security camera image showing a possible suspect was circulated, but police were unable to identify him.
The mother of the murdered girl, who has been named as Lucia Mota, has taken to the Internet since Marcelo da Silva was named as a suspect, to say that there was still a lack of answers about the murder.
She added that the motive for the crime was still unexplained and she also said that she believed that DNA was not enough to determine if the suspect was indeed the perpetrator of the crime.
She had reportedly claimed in the past that “the police had sabotaged the investigation” and that “the assassins were being protected by the police”.
In December 2021, the child’s parents walked over 700 kilometres (435 miles) from Petrolina to the state capital of Pernambuco, Recife, to demand justice for the murder of their child, in a move that was widely reported on.
Since the date of the murder, which originally included 124 people who were considered suspects and against whom the DNA was compared, seven forensic investigations have been carried out, and the police have gathered 442 testimonials and analysed 900 hours of images.
A court date has yet to be set.