By Chesney Hearst, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – American pastor Renée Murdoch, 44, remains hospitalized and in serious condition following an assault on Friday morning where she was repeatedly struck with a 1.10 meter wooden stick wielded by a shirtless, barefoot, homeless man in the Rio’s Zona Oeste (West Zone) neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca.

Light of Nations Pastor Renee Murdoch
Pastor Renee Murdoch remains in serious condition after attack in Barra, photo by Light of Nation Church Site.

Murdoch, a twelve year resident of the city and pastor/co-founder of the Light to Nations Church in Recreio, was attacked, after dropping her four children off at school, while jogging on a bike lane in front of the condo Afabarra.

Allegedly first striking Murdoch in the head, the man later identified as Luis Francesco de Oliverira, 38, reportedly continued the assault after Murdoch had fallen to the ground.

“He acted, the information I have, much like a madman. She had only five or ten dollars in her pocket to buy a coconut water, nothing else.” G1 Globo reported Hugo Murdoch, the father of the victim saying.

After the attack, Renée Murdoch was taken from the scene and admitted to the Hospital Miguel Couto suffering head trauma. There she underwent several surgeries and was placed into an induced coma.

At midnight she was transferred to the neurological ICU unit of Hospital Copa D’or located in Rio’s South Zone where she remains in serious condition at the time of this report.

Oliverira was quickly apprehended by Municipal Guards on the scene who had been called in before the attack by reports of a shirtless man attempting to vandalize a kiosk.

Chief deputy of the 16th Precinct (Barra da Tijuca), Paul Roberto Mendes ruled out a robbery attempt, saying “It was an assault charge. His appearance is crazy, so I’m asking for a sanity test.”

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.


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