Brazilian police have apprehended a man accused of ripping out a 10-year-old girl's heart after raping and killing her.
Jairo Lopes, 42, has admitted to grabbing 10-year-old Raiana Aparecida Candida on June 1 while she was on her way to school in Minais Gerais, Brazil. Police believe that the girl's heart may have been removed for use in a black magic ceremony, according to the Mirror.
Lopes reportedly had gone to Raiana's family's home a week earlier, asking for work. Investigators believe that Lopes initially targeted the girl in order to extort her family for money.
"His house is about three miles from the property Raiana lived in," said the young girl's aunt, who asked not to be named.
"A few days before she disappeared, he turned up, said his name was Roberto and asked to speak to her dad," she recalled. "Her grandfather said he wasn’t in. This man stayed and chatted for a while, smoked a cigarette and said he was looking for work."
Raiana's body was discovered on a farm in Buenopolis, 440 miles north of Rio de Janeiro. The child's heart was missing. Police are investigating the possibility that her heart was taken for use in black magic, in part because Lopes has a tattoo on his stomach which represents a sect.
After a search, the heart was found buried near the place where Raiana's body was found, reports the Daily Mail. Five days after discovering the body, Lopes was found hidden in underbrush near the farm. The man at first claimed he was innocent, but later it was reported that he confessed to attacking the young girl on her way to school.
Lopes was allegedly on the run after a homicide and another rape, and was using fake documents for ID, according to reports from locals. The alleged killer had to be airlifted out of the area because a group of around 500 locals had gathered in an attempt to lynch him.
"We had to move him quickly from the hiding place he was found in because locals wanted to kill him," said police chief Giovanni Idalmo de Faria before Lopes' confession. "He confessed a past murder to them but claimed he had nothing to do with the little girl's killing."
"We confiscated blood-stained boots and other potential evidence," Faria added. "Until we're shown otherwise, this man was the author of this barbaric crime."