RIO DE JANEIRO - Police hunted for the
goalkeeper of Brazil's most popular football team on Wednesday
over the disappearance and possible murder of his ex-girlfriend
in a case that has transfixed the football-crazed country.
Flamengo keeper Bruno Souza and a friend were ordered
arrested late on Tuesday while public prosecutors investigate
their suspected involvement in the disappearance of 25-year-old
model Eliza Samudio last month.
Globo Television showed police cars arriving at Bruno's
plush house near a Rio beach on Wednesday morning, but they did
not find the goalkeeper or his friend Luiz Henrique Ferrera
Romao, known as "Spaghetti".
"Bruno has fled," said Edson Moreira, police chief in
Bruno's home city of Belo Horizonte, about 440 km (270 miles)
north of Rio.
Samudio, 25, had filed a police complaint against Bruno
last October, saying that she had been kidnapped, beaten up and
forced to take medicine that would induce an abortion. She
later gave birth to a baby she said was Bruno's.
Neither Bruno nor Romao have been charged.
Bruno, who like many Brazilian footballers is known by one
name, has denied involvement in Samudio's disappearance in
recent comments to media. Bruno's current partner was arrested
in Belo Horizonte on Wednesday morning.
Rio de Janeiro's Flamengo is the league champion and by far
Brazil's most popular club, its distinctive black-and-red
striped shirts worn by Brazilians from the beaches of Rio to
A police source told Reuters that Bruno's arrest was
ordered after a 17-year-old cousin of the goalkeeper testified
on Tuesday that he and Romao had kidnapped Samudio and driven
her to Bruno's house in Belo Horizonte.
Romao's lawyer, Ercio Quaresma Firpe, was quoted by media
as saying the cousin told police that Samudio's body had been
fed to a rottweiler, although he described that possibility as
Ties between Brazil's favorite sport and crime have been in
the spotlight after Adriano, another Flamengo player and a
former striker for the national team, came under investigation
for alleged links to drug traffickers in Rio.
Adriano, who denied wrongdoing and has not been charged, is
being investigated by prosecutors on suspicion of transferring
thousands of dollars to a drug lord. He has since moved to
Italy's Roma club.
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