15 Nov 2010

Doctors remove 4 of dozens of needles inside 2-year-old Brazilian ritual abuse victim

CBC News - December 18, 2009

Needles removed from Brazilian boy

In this frame taken from a TV Globo video, a person points at an X-ray of a two-year-old boy showing needles inside his body in a hospital in Ibotirama, northern Brazil, on Tuesday. (Agencia O Globo/Associated Press)

Doctors have successfully completed emergency surgery to remove four sewing needles from a Brazilian toddler that were allegedly inserted into him by his stepfather during a series of bizarre rituals.

Hospital spokeswoman Susy Moreno said surgeons in the northeastern city of Salvador took out four of the dozens of needles inside the two-year-old boy during the operation.

One of them punctured his heart, two were near the heart and another was inside a lung. The surgery lasted about three hours and the boy is in stable condition, Moreno said.

She said doctors have left the other needles in the boy for now, but could perform more operations later.

Police say the boy's stepfather confessed to pushing 42 supposedly "blessed" sewing needles deep into the child because his lover told him to while in trances. The rituals were performed over a period of a month to try to keep the couple together, the stepfather told police.

Roberto Carlos Magalhaes, a 30-year-old bricklayer, told detectives the woman would enter into trances and "command him to stick the needles in the boy's body," police inspector Helder Fernandes Santana told The Associated Press by telephone.

The lover, Angelina Ribeiro dos Santos, paid to have the needles measuring up to five centimetres blessed by a woman who practised the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomble, and convinced Magalhaes that inserting them into the boy would somehow allow them to be together, Santana alleged.

Police, however, allege dos Santos was out for revenge on the boy's mother, though they did not say why.

"According to his confession, he acted under influence of the woman, but it was he who stuck the needles in the boy's body," the inspector alleges.

Magalhaes and dos Santos were both arrested, though no charges have yet been filed.

Dos Santos is not believed to be a member of any religious or occult group, and authorities believe she came up with the idea of the rituals on her own, Santana said.
Afro-Brazilian religions

The two were taken to an undisclosed lockup for their own protection after a mob threw stones at the police station where they were being held. It was not immediately clear whether they had legal representation.

Authorities also detained the woman who blessed the needles so she could be questioned, but Santana said he expects she will be released without charge because she did not know how they were being used.

The boy's mother, a maid, took him to a hospital in the town of Ibotirama on Dec. 10, saying he was complaining of pain.

After X-rays revealed the cause, the mother told police she didn't know how the needles got inside her son, whose name was not released because of his age. The boy was later transferred for more advanced evaluation at a much larger hospital in the coastal city of Salvador.

Police and doctors concluded it would have been impossible for the boy to have ingested the needles — which have also been found in a lung and in his left leg, and spread throughout his abdomen.

Afro-Brazilian religions practised in Brazil have no ceremonies, rituals or practices involving harm to people, said Nelson Inocencio, director of African-Brazilian studies at the University of Brasilia.

He worried that the incident could hurt the image of the religions, of which Candomble is the most popular and concentrated most in Bahia state.

"What happened to this boy without a doubt could feed into the prejudice against Afro-Brazilian traditions," he said.

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The Vancouver Sun - Canada December 21, 2009

Brazil toddler recovers after 31 needles removed

By Peter Murphy | Reuters

A 2-year-old boy whose body was found to be full of needles, arrives at a hospital in Salvador City, capital of the northeastern state of Bahia, Dec. 17, 2009. A Brazilian man and two women have been arrested on suspicion of putting 42 metal sewing needles into the body of the boy in what may have been an occult or religious act, police said on Thursday. Photograph by: A TARDE/Ag O Globo/Arestides Baptista, Reuters

SAO PAULO - A Brazilian toddler is making a good recovery after surgery to remove the first of 31 sewing needles pushed into his body by his stepfather in a cruel act that has enraged locals, the hospital said on Saturday.

The 2 1/2-year-old boy, underwent a nearly five-hour procedure on Friday to remove two rusted needles from near his heart and two more from one of his lungs.

His stepfather, 30-year-old Roberto Carlos Magalhaes, has been arrested and confessed to putting the needles in the boy's body at the behest of his lover who said the act would help the two to stay together, police said.

The pair were guided by a local practitioner of an African-Brazilian religion, Candomble, and Magalhaes inserted the needles into the boy at his lover's home.

The boy was brought to a small local hospital by his mother, Maria Souza Santos, after complaining of pains and was eventually transferred to the Ana Nery University Hospital in Salvador, the capital of the northeastern state of Bahia.

"It was a delicate operation. They had to open his thorax. There are needles of all sizes," said hospital spokeswoman Susy Moreno. "The ones from the heart were 4.5 cm (1.75 inches). There are others of 2.5 cm (1 inch)," she said.

The O Globo newspaper's website quoted one police officer saying that Magalhaes intention was to kill the child and that the needles had been inserted over a period of a month.

Local media said Magalhaes was taken from the police station in the boy's home town, Ibotirama, where he and the two other women were being held, and transferred to an undisclosed location before revolted locals gathered at the barracks.

"There is a whole commotion from the community (at the hospital)," Moreno said. "There are people bringing toys but no one has access. Someone rang up crying. He said he had a grandson of the same age," she said.

The boy will undergo further surgery next week to remove more of the needles from his intestines and bladder but Moreno said some may be left in his body if doctors the decide they would not cause him harm and enable him to avoid more surgery.

Moreno said he was awake and talking on Saturday afternoon and was soon to begin eating again.

"Before the surgery he was crying a lot and had trauma. His mother is with him and he is being attended to by psychologists and there are play activities for him," she said. However, he remained lying down in bed.

Bahia is the heart of African influence in Brazil, where many people practice Afro-Brazilian religions that combine spiritism, indigenous and African beliefs.

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CBC News - Canada December 21, 2009

Brazilian man says needles meant to kill stepson

A jailed Brazilian admitted in a television interview that he shoved nearly three dozen sewing needles into his two-year-old stepson because he wanted to kill the boy to spite his wife.

Speaking from his cell, 30-year-old bricklayer Roberto Carlos Magalhaes told how he doped the child with wine mixed in water, then stuck needles into his body while his lover held the boy down.

"I did this two or three times a week during one month," Magalhaes said in an interview with Globo TV's Fantastico program Sunday from a jail in the northeastern state of Bahia.

The boy was too drunk from the wine mixture to cry while the needles were being pushed in, but he felt pain after the alcohol wore off, Magalhaes said.

"It was truly an unbearable suffering," he said. "It was to get back at the boy's mother. I thought the needles would work their way through his body and kill the boy. It was a way to kill without anyone discovering."

But the pain led the toddler to complain to his mother, and on Dec. 10 she took him to a hospital where X-rays revealed about 30 needles lodged throughout his body.

The boy underwent a five-hour operation in the northeastern city of Salvador on Friday to remove four rusty needles that most threatened his life, near his heart and in his lungs.
Boy needs more surgeries

Doctors said Sunday the child was doing well and would likely undergo two more surgeries, the next one Wednesday at the earliest, to extract needles up to five centimetres long from his abdomen and spine.

Suzy Moreno, a spokeswoman for Hospital Ana Nery, said hundreds of people across Brazil had contacted the facility to inquire about the boy.

"Many people are coming by to bring Christmas presents," she said. "Many are also calling us to express their outrage.… The support has been incredible."

Along with Magalhaes, police believe his lover, Angelina Ribeiro dos Santos, was also seeking revenge on Magalhaes' wife.

The bricklayer told detectives that dos Santos would enter into trances and give him commands to insert the needles, police inspector Helder Fernandes Santana said.

Magalhaes and dos Santos were both arrested, though no charges had been filed. They were taken to an undisclosed location for their own protection after a mob threw stones at the police station where they were being held.

Dos Santos is not believed to be a member of any religious or occult group, and authorities believe the pair came up with the idea on their own.

The boy's name is not being released because of his age.

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Montreal Gazette - AFP December 29, 2009

Brazilian needle boy out of danger after third operation

RIO DE JANEIRO — A two-year-old Brazilian boy pierced with 32 sewing needles by his black magic-believing stepfather is out of danger after a third operation, doctors said Tuesday.

"We think that this child's story will have a happy ending," surgeon Jose Siqueira told journalists after Monday evening's operation in Salvador de Bahia, in northeastern Brazil.

Surgeons removed four needles lodged near the boy's spinal column in the third risky operation in 10 days.

A total of 22 out of 32 needles, which had pierced the boy's neck, chest, stomach, liver and legs, have now been removed.

Doctors have not yet decided whether to remove the remaining needles which were not thought to threaten the boy's life.

His stepfather, 30-year-old bricklayer Roberto Carlos Magalhaes, has confessed to driving the needles into the boy one by one, over a month, as part of a black magic ritual aimed at exacting revenge on his wife.

Magalhaes said he intended to kill the boy with the slivers, and acted under the influence of his mistress, who was also arrested along with the alleged "sorceress" who oversaw the ceremonies.

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