By Maíra Amorim, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – From idol to monster: that is how the life of Bruno Fernandes de Souza, Flamengo’s famous former goalkeeper, has changed in the last few weeks. Arrested on July 7th, he is suspected of involvement in the disappearance of his ex-lover, Eliza Samudio, who has been missing since June 8th and presumed murdered in a crime that has shocked Brazil.
Bruno presented himself to police in Rio and was transferred to Minas Gerais where he is currently in jail along with friends Luiz Henrique Ferreira Romão (Macarrão), Marcos Aparecido dos Santos (Bola), Wemerson Marques (Coxinha), Flávio Caetano and Elenilson Vitor da Silva. All six are suspected of having links to the murder of Eliza, who allegedly has a son with the goalkeeper, called Bruninho, though DNA tests remain unconfirmed.
Up to July 7th, Bruno was showing tranquility towards the news of the disappearance and appeared at Flamengo’s training despite having been dismissed from the official group. However, testimony of his cousin changed everything.
The young man said that Eliza was kidnapped, tortured and murdered and even gave details of a shocking crime: her body was fed to the dogs at the house of ex-policeman Marcos Aparecido dos Santos, in Minas Gerais. The cousin took Minas policemen to the place, but nothing was found there, and the body is still missing.
The cousin, an unnamed minor, gave contradictory versions to the Police and to the Public Ministry. Eliza was driven by him and Macarrão to Bruno’s country house in Minas Gerais. First, he said that Bruno arrived the next day and stayed there for only two hours. But he has since changed his mind and declared to the Public Ministry that Bruno arrived the same day as they did and also that his ex-wife, Dayanne was there when they arrived.
There are still many missing elements to the story, and police will again check and compare the testimonials of everyone involved on Eliza’s disappearance. So far, Bruno has refused to provide blood or saliva for a DNA test to see if he is really the father of Eliza’s son, and also to see if the male blood found in his car is indeed his. It has already been confirmed that Eliza’s blood was found on the vehicle.
New facts have emerged daily, but what is clear is that the life and career of Bruno, Flamengo’s ex-captain and an idol of the team that claims to have the highest number of supporters in Brazil, has been destroyed. His contract with Flamengo, that guaranteed him R$250,000 a month, was suspended on July 8th.
Olimpikus, the sports company that sponsored him, also canceled the contract and announced the end of his autographed line of shirts, gloves and shoes. The keeper’s shirt, with Bruno’s signature, is also being recalled from all stores.
The coldness of the goalkeeper in court has impressed both judges and officers, and he has not demonstrated tension or despair and always keeps his head up. However on Monday July 12th, he felt sick and passed out in jail which, for some specialists, may finally serve as an indication that he is now facing the reality of the problem.