By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Over the weekend, Rio police apprehended Mário Marcelo Ferreira dos Santos Santoro who is suspected of killing his ex-girlfriend Cecília Müller Haddad in Australia in April.
The 40-year-old Santoro, an engineer, was arrested Saturday afternoon, July 7th, at a relative’s apartment in Botafogo and is considered a fugitive. The arrest comes a week after Australian police and Interpol issued warrants for his arrest.
According to police officials, Santoro, a Brazilian national, is the main suspect in the murder of his ex-girlfriend Haddad. Haddad, also Brazilian, was a mining executive who had been living in Sydney. Her body was found in the Lane Cove River in Sydney, Australia, on April 29th.
Haddad’s family reported her death to Rio’s Homicide Division in May. After their investigation, Rio police concluded that Haddad’s death was the result of “mechanical asphyxia due to constriction of the neck” and that Haddad’s “former companion” Santoro was the main suspect.
Santoro and Haddad had allegedly ended their relationship several weeks before her body was discovered.
Fabio Cardoso, from Rio’s Homicide Division, told local media, “In April, by not accepting the break-up, he (Santoro) allegedly killed her by asphyxiation by pressing her neck and dumping her body in the river.”
Cardoso added, “We know he had the key to her house because he lived there for a while.”
Police further revealed that Santoro flew back to his native Brazil the same weekend that Haddad’s body was found. “The accused sought to escape from Australian Justice by embarking to Brazil soon after the events, aware of the impossibility of extradition of a Brazilian national.”
Officials from Australia’s New South Wales Police Force, who had also issued a warrant for Santoro’s arrest, told local media that NSW detectives are preparing to travel to Brazil “as soon as international protocols have been met.”
But, NSW officials remained non-committal regarding the possiblity of Santoro’s extradition to Australia. “Australia does not comment on extradition matters, including whether a request has been made or if it intends to make a request.”