Horror Lands at Barra Beach

Two bodies found floating in the sea

(My translation of an article in A Tarde and Massa, two papers from Salvador, Brazil 18/9/14. I have written about this beach in a previous post on this blog. Stories of this kind are very common in the press here. I have been reading A Tarde regularly and have often been struck by the dramatic nature of the reports of violence. This story is extraordinary because it juxtaposes the attractive and horrific sides of Salvador. The original article can be viewed at www.jornalmassa.com.br/2014/09/147119-terror-desembarca-no-porto-da-barra.html )

Yesterday morning violence landed on Porto da Barra beach, voted the third best beach in the world by the English paper The Guardian. A navy launch towed ashore two bodies which were floating in the sea. A forensics team established that the victims had died from bullet wounds to the head and stab wounds to the neck. According to the homicide officer in charge, Marilene Lima, the bodies were those of two men whose identities were still unknown, tied together with ropes and weighted down with four cobble stones. She explained that no friends or family of the victims had come forward. According to the forensics officer Carla Camacan the bodies had been in the water at most for 48 hours, as they had few signs of the effects of sea creatures – the eyes, ear cavities and the ends of the fingers being intact. She added that these are the parts which marine life usually attacks first. She said that the assassins had tried to sink the bodies with stones, but had not succeeded. The rocks were attached with long ropes which were slack and allowed the bodies to break the surface and become visible.

Many onlookers and bathers watched the work of the forensics team on the edge of the water. Those working in the area thought the events were very bad news. “It’s horrible. The tourists are scared. They arrive here and find dead people on the beach. They won’t want to come back.” said street trader Luis Carlos. A beach seller, Tereza Souza, said “a customer asked me what had happened. When I told her she said there was a heavy atmosphere and didn’t hang around”.