By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Yesterday afternoon (November 12th) Brazilian federal police officers arrested Phillip John Smith in Rio de Janeiro. Smith, a New Zealand native, is a convicted child molester and murderer who fled his country on November 6th after being granted a temporary leave from prison.
Smith, who traveled to Chile and then Brazil under the name of Phillip John Traynor was arrested at a hostel in Rio de Janeiro’s Santa Teresa neighborhood after a Brazilian man recognized him and called authorities.
Rio’s daily O Globo reported that authorities stated Smith did not resist arrest. The newspaper also said that when captured, he had little money with him and disguises including women’s make-up and two wigs.
He was taken to the Ary Franco Prison, to await extradition papers from the New Zealand government. The Rio de Janeiro courts issued a sixty-day temporary prison sentence. According to the New Zealand Herald, police are working through options to return recaptured fugitive Phillip Smith to New Zealand,including deportation and extradition.
The Herald also reported that New Zealand’s Police commissioner Mike Bush stated that he had spoken to Brazil’s ambassador to New Zealand to thank him for the recapturing of Smith. “The co-operation we have received from the authorities in Brazil has been excellent and is testament to the relationship we have built with law enforcement agencies there in recent years,” Bush was quoted as saying.
Smith was born Phillip John Traynor in Wellington in 1974, but at the age of three his mother remarried, and changed her son’s name to Smith. He was convicted of sexually abused his neighbor’s son from 1992-95 and in 1995 murdering the father of the boy while on bail for extortion.
He escaped police custody while on bail. In 1996 he was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum non-parole period of thirteen years, for murder, sexual offenses against his victim’s son, aggravated burglary of the family’s home and kidnapping of the victim’s wife and son.