The terrible death nearly three years ago of 17-year-old schoolgirl Bruna Nunes is about to see her mother’s former lover face justice.
Mihai Oprea, 36, fled Portugal the day before Bruna’s battered, half-naked body was found on scrubland near Aldeia Velha, Aljezur.
As reports explained, Bruna had been sexually assaulted, her head smashed in with what investigators suggested was a rock.
The autopsy termed her injuries as “lacerations to the brain with a cranial fracture”.
Round her neck were marks consistent with strangulation.
A local roller-blading champion – she had recently won the distinction of junior national champion – Bruna had been missing for three days.
For two of those days, Oprea joined in local searches, for all intents and purposes, “acting normally”.
On the third day however he skipped the country, taking with him his partner’s car and what tabloid Correio da Manhã described as “the family’s gold”.
The car was later found abandoned in Spain, with authorities, by then on his trail, “always believing” Oprea would seek refuge in his home country of Romania, says CM.
There then followed a 25-month lull in which everyone left behind in Portugal despaired at the lack of closure.
But police here were constantly in touch with Romanian counterparts, and Oprea was eventually ‘spotted’ living under an assumed name in the Romanian city of Cluj-Napoca (click here).
Even though there was a European Arrest Warrant out for him as ‘Mihai Oprea’, it took months to put get all the necessary ‘permissions’ in place before Romanian authorities, keeping him under surveillance, could move in.
Oprea was finally arrested in January this year, and two weeks later extradited to Portugal to face charges of murder, kidnap, attempted rape, sexual coercion and the profanation of the body of his former ‘stepdaughter’.
He has been held in preventive custody in Silves jail, pending his trial – due to get underway in Portimão this afternoon.
For Bruna’s friends and family who keep her memory alive over social media, this is a very special day.