Brazilian cops have arrested a man over claims he chopped off his elderly landlady’s fingers so he could use her fingerprints to withdraw cash from her account.
The murdered woman, whose husband was also killed, was a dentist at a local hospital who had been sent home during the pandemic because her employers were worried about what would happen to her if she caught the virus because of her age.
The shocking incident occurred in the town of Colorado do Oeste in the northern Brazilian state of Rondonia where Dionelia Gioacometti was murdered along with her husband Eldon Mai. The pair were described by police as “elderly” but their exact ages were not given.
Their bodies were discovered buried near a road in the town of Chupinguaia and the suspect, who has not been named, is suspected of having called first Dionelia to the house he rented on false pretences on Sunday. He had claimed the sink was leaking.
Local media outlet Globo, reporting police sources, say the victim was pushed to the floor and the suspect then ripped a shirt and used it as a gag.
Police spokesman Nubio Lopes said in a press conference: “He then took a small rope, put it around Dionelia’s neck and strangled her. Then he went to the victim’s house, searched her bags and rooms for credit cards, debit cards and money.”
Many banks now use biometrics requiring a fingerprint in order to allow access to an account, and is unclear when he cut her fingers off if he was hoping to find a mobile phone with a banking app at her home, or if the local bank had some sort of biometric technology. But it is confirmed he removed her fingers in order to hack into her account.
Lopes said: “He applied tourniquets on the left and right index finger [of the victim], as well as tourniquets on both thumbs.
“He then used a knife and cut off the fingers of both hands. The suspect did this so that he could perform the biometric reading and then withdraw money from the victim’s account at Banco do Brasil (Bank of Brazil).”
After failing to withdraw the money, he decided to cover his tracks further, and called the dead woman’s husband who also reportedly worked as a dentist. He apparently again claimed the sink was leaking.
Lopes said: “When the elderly man went into the house, he was also hit on the back of the head.”
The suspected killer is then alleged to have driven to nearby Chupinguaia to bury their bodies.
The suspect was arrested on Tuesday when Traffic Police pulled over a car in Dionelia’s name with a man, a woman, and a 10-year-old child inside.
Globo report the suspect confessed to the double murder after being questioned by the officers before taking them to where their bodies were buried.
Both adults were arrested and remain in custody while their 10-year-old child was placed under the care of the Child Protective Services.
The State Department of Health of Acre (Sesacre) report victim Dionelia was a full-time employee at the Raimundo Chaar Clinical Hospital in Brasileia in the state of Acre.
Globo report she was a dentist and had been removed from work because of the COVID-19 pandemic because she was at risk from the virus.
The investigation continues.
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