A former Brazilian professional footballer has reportedly been beheaded allegedly by drug traffickers and his head left on the doorstep of his home in Rio de Janeiro in a rucksack, which his horrified wife discovered while leaving for work on Tuesday morning.
Police said that the eyes and tongue of 35-year-old Joao Rodrigo Silva Santos had been cut out and his head placed inside one of his own rucksacks.
According to the a British tabloid, Santos, who had retired from football two years ago after a successful career playing for several teams in Rio de Janeiro, Sweden and Honduras, had recently set up his own business selling health foods and dietary supplements.
Police further said that Santos is believed to have been kidnapped as he closed up his shop late on Monday night, adding that witnesses saw several men bundling Santos into his car and speeding off just before midnight.
Although Santos' wife was a social worker in a military police base in a local slum, the police said that she did not patrol the streets or made arrests like other police officers, with Santos' relatives claiming that neither the footballer nor his wife had any enemies.
The police unit that she works for has been carrying out an operation to eliminate Rio de Janeiro’s notoriously violent drug trade, ahead of the World Cup and 2016 Olympics to be held in the city.
There's speculation that the decapitation of her husband was intended to serve as a warning for her. Investigators are probing whether Santos was murdered by a drugs lords, with the report adding that police have begun searching for the rest of Santos' body.