Suspected drug traffickers have reportedly killed a former Brazilian footballer and delivered his severed head to his wife in a horrifying story in Rio de Janeiro.
According to Brazil news outlet Globo, Joao Rodrigo Silva Santos, who was 35 years old and had retired from football, was kidnapped as he left a food shop he was running in the district of Realengo.
Early the next morning his wife, a police officer with Rio’s Pacification Units, reportedly heard a noise from outside her house and recognised a backpack of her husband’s planted outside the front door.
Inside the backpack was Joao Rodrigo's head. Globo reported that the assailants had carved out the man’s eyes and tongue.
A friend of the victim, Bruno Santos, told the news outlet: “He was a good family man. He lived for football and played until recently. He had no enemies.”
Joao Rodrigo played in several Brazilian teams, mainly in lower leagues and also briefly in Sweden.
His wife's police unit, have been involved in a crackdown on Rio's gangs launched by the government to clean up Brazil's main cities from crime ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.
Police said they suspect local drug traffickers for the gruesome murder.