António Reis, the man who shot and killed his partner and their five-year-old son in Ermesinde on Thursday night (July 23), was found dead in his prison cell in Porto this weekend.
The 55-year-old was found only hours after it was confirmed that his son – who had been fighting for his life– had died at the São João Hospital in Porto on Saturday afternoon (July 25).
While authorities are unsure about what caused Reis’ death, they have denied it was a case of suicide.
It may have been “heart attack”, the director of the national prison service, Rui Sá Gomes, told Público newspaper.
Reis’ body was due to be autopsied as elsewhere reports point to him having had heart problems.
Reis was taken into police custody six hours after shooting Marinha Santos, 45, and her son Renato last Thursday as they were getting out of a car in Saibreiras, Ermesinde, a town near Porto. Santos was shot in the neck and Renato in the head.
Neighbours have said that Reis and Marinha Santos had been in a relationship for “several years” but did not live together.
It was when Reis started demanding to live with her and their son that the death threats started.
“If you don’t want to live with me, I’ll kill you,” was one of the threats neighbours say they heard, according to Jornal de Notícias.
JN reports the woman had already warned Ermesinde PSP police about the threats.
Their child’s custody is also reported to have been an issue, even though Reis was apparently allowed to see his son whenever he wanted. Locals say the man was seen often with his son in a local café.
According to feminist organisation UMAR, 17 women were murdered in the first half of 2015 – 14 of which involving “past or present intimate relationships” between the murderer and the victim.
The number, while still alarming, is below that registered in the same period last year (24).
Over 300 people pay homage to victims
On Saturday night, over 300 people took to Ermesinde’s streets to pay homage to the victims of the shooting.
They walked from the scene of the crime on Rua Calouste Gulbenkian to the Santa Rita church, followed by two minutes of silence and prayers.
Marinha Santos and her son’s funeral are expected to take place this Tuesday (July 28).