By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Rio police officials have announced that they are calling off the search for British hip-hop artist Kenny Mukendi, aka Kenny Vulcan, who went missing in Rio on April 13th, after concluding that the 22-year-old rapper took his own life.
“All that we constructed in the investigation, based on [Vulcan’s] emotional history, the deletion of the social media accounts, leads us to believe that he voluntarily threw himself into the sea,” exclaimed Ellen Souto from Rio’s missing person’s department (Delegacia de Descoberta de Paradeiros) at a press conference on Friday, April 27th.
Souto added that the decision to halt the search was based on extensive interviews with Vulcan’s family and friends, which revealed the artist was going through a number of emotional difficulties and possibly depression.
“Since December he received a number of “no’s” in regards to his recordings. He started having financial difficulties to pay his own rent and was living in with his girlfriend and had started selling some personal property,” explained Souto.
In addition, last week in Barra da Tijuca, surfers discovered the rapper’s backpack washed up onshore about eight miles from where he was last seen. The backpack still contained Vulcan’s laptop, passport, bank cards, wallet, pen drives and headphones.
According to Souto, the backpack found intact likely rules out the possibility of foul play and further supports investigators’ conclusions that the young rapper, going through a difficult moment, committed suicide.
In London, Vulcan’s family members have expressed displeasure over the halting of the investigation. “We are deeply disappointed with the outcome of the Brazilian police’s investigation,” a frustrated Ken Mukendi, Vulcan’s father, told reporters.
“They made the press announcement without our consent and we believe they have reached a conclusion based on inaccurate and misleading information.” Mukendi added, “[T]hey should have looked more in land and not concentrated their search only on the sea…And we believe more research needs to be done into why his bag was found so far away.”
Mukendi also objected to Souto’s characterization of Vulcan as having emotional problems.
“Until the age of 22, Kenny was the perfect child,” he said. “He has given us no problems until now. He has never suffered from depression and he never mentioned taking his life.”
Vulcan went missing on April 13th following an all-night recording session at the OdKill recording studio in Barra da Tijuca. He texted his girlfriend saying that he was coming home and soon after, all his social media accounts were deleted and he was not heard from since.