A TEEN’S body was found gagged, blindfolded and bound after a killer allegedly posed as a Good Samaritan to kidnap her after slashing her tyre.
Cops in Brazil claim that trusting Mariana Bazza, 19, was duped into accepting an offer of help to change her damaged tyre.
Twenty-four hours after she went missing, her body was found dumped on a dirt track in a sugar cane field on Wednesday in Itápolis, south east Brazil.
Mariana was fully clothed and lying face down. Her hands were tied behind her back, and she had been gagged and blindfolded.
Mariana’s distraught parents, Aírton and Marlene, had to be sedated in hospital after hearing about their daughter’s death.
Her weeping dad said: “My wife is desperate; our lives are over. My daughter, my angel has gone. (This) has ended our life.”
A relative added: “She is an only child. She is the apple of their eye and was committed to her studies.”
The university student vanished on Tuesday morning after leaving a gym in Bariri, some 37 miles (60km) from where her remains were located.
PUNCTURE ON VW
The suspect, named by cops as Rodrigo Pereira Alves, 37, has been charged with her murder after allegedly confessing that he had killed her before indicating where the body had been left.
Police believe the accused deliberately slashed the tyre with the intent to appear to be a do-gooder.
He was arrested on Tuesday night on suspicion of the girl’s disappearance after security cameras outside the gym identified him as the last person to see her alive.
CCTV shows the teen being approached by the suspect while standing by her vehicle. It appears that the accused offers to help change the puncture on the Black Volkswagen Gol.
After the two chat he crosses the road while the Mariana, who was studying physiotherapy, gets into her car and drives into a small yard on the other side of the dual carriageway.
An hour later, her vehicle is seen leaving the scene, with investigators alleging it was driven by Alves.
In addition to the CCTV footage, Mariana took a picture of him kneeling beside the car as he changed the flat tyre and sent it to family members and her boyfriend of three years, lieutenant navy officer Jefferson Vianna.
Vianna told cops that Mariana was not afraid when she sent the picture.
He said: “She just sent it to tell me what had happened, we laughed at the situation and I sent her a picture of me in my uniform whites because I knew she liked it.”
According to an aunt, this was their last contact with Mariana.
Speaking to local media the unnamed relative said: “(Mariana) didn’t answer her phone after that. The phone didn’t have a signal. We were immediately desperate with worry.”
After identifying the suspect from the images, cops launched a manhunt that lasted about seven hours and included a helicopter search.
Alves was eventually found hiding on the roof of a house in Itápolis.
And Mariana’s car was located in the same vicinity.
Chief inspector Durval Izar Neto told FocusOn News: “Mariana and a friend left the gym around 8am yesterday. Her colleague told us that she took her motorcycle and left for work.
“It appears that it was only after this that Mariana noticed one of her car tyres was flat.
“It was in this context that a man approached her offering to help change it.
“Images on the security circuit show Mariana getting into her car, driving to the yard and the suspect allegedly leaving with the vehicle an hour later.”
Neto continued: “We got permission to break (Rodrigo’s) cell phone secrecy and found that he was in his family’s house in Itápolis.
“He fled when officers arrived. But after searching the area we found him hiding on the roof of a nearby house.”
Forensics discovered traces of sugar cane reeds inside the vehicle, which suggests that it was driven around a rural area.
They also recovered a knife from under the seat, but this is not thought to have been used in the crime. Marks inside the car indicated that there had been a struggle.
An autopsy is expected to determine the cause of Mariana’s death and whether the teenager suffered sexual violence.
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Police revealed that Alves is a convicted criminal with a violent track record.
He has spent 12 years behind bars for kidnap, rape, attempted murder, robbery, extortion and was released from prison just over a month ago.
The owner of the small yard where the tyre was fixed told detectives the accused had been hired to paint the house built on the land but admitted that he didn’t know much about his background.
The suspect appeared in court on Wednesday and has been detained in custody.