A five-year-old girl was found dead in a cardboard box as her stepfather confessed to raping and strangling her to death.
According to the Civil Police, her stepfather Cassio Martins Camilo has confessed to raping and strangling the child after he was arrested.
Her body showed signs of strangulation as well as indications of sexual abuse.
According to the chief delegate of Hortolândia, João Jorge Ferreira da Silva, experts collected DNA on the girl’s body that identified Camilo as the perpetrator.
Her great-grandmother Ilza Viana Nascimento told local media the girl had been acting differently in the days before her death and had complained of pain.
Maria Clara had been missing since the morning of December 17, when she went out to play at a neighbour’s house but did not return.
Her mother, 25-year-old production assistant Franciéle Kauane Vieira do Nascimento, returned home for lunch and asked Camilo about her daughter’s whereabouts.
He claimed he had been sleeping and did not see the youngster leave the house.
The family began searching for Maria Clara and filed a police report at the Hortolândia Police Station.
Her body was found placed into a plastic bag that was stuffed inside a cardboard box, according to Minuto Info.
The stepfather was found shortly afterwards in a relative’s home in the nearby municipality of Campinas, and taken to the police station where he confessed to the crime.
Angry residents have set off smoke bombs outside the station and burnt tyres in the street, as Camilo was placed in preventive detention for his safety.
Camilo was reportedly also convicted of rape in 2018, with the alleged victim his stepdaughter from his previous marriage.
According to Maria Clara’s grandmother, Camilo had been in a relationship with her daughter for just over a year.
Maria Clara’s tiny body was found by family and friends, with her mother scooping up her daughter and carrying her to hospital. She was pronounced dead on arrival.
Police revealed the girl’s stepfather had cleaned the entire house in an effort to conceal evidence of his crimes, before changing his mind and confessing to the murder.
Chief Martha Rocha, who is leading the murder case, said police were still trying to determine his motive.
“It remains to be seen now where and how this barbaric crime happened,” she said.
“And also to know the motivation that led him to commit this crime. The authorship is already determined.”
Maria Clara was buried in Hortolândia on December 19 in a private ceremony restricted to family and friends.
The police are currently trying to determine whether Maria Clara’s stepfather acted alone or if there were accomplices involved.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission