Initial forensic tests on the body of 81-year-old Maria de Lurdes Marques – discovered laid out in a locked chest freezer on Monday evening (click here) – show that she died of asphyxia, a sign, claims national tabloid Correio da Manhã, that she was alive when her murderer turned the key and left her to freeze over a period of at least three days.
With “supplementary exams” still to perform, CM suggests the dead woman was unconscious when placed inside the freezer in a pose that suggests the murderer ‘laid her out as if in a coffin’.
Food and packages that had been in the freezer were removed, say reports, to make way for the woman who appears to have died without regaining consciousness.
As the paper explains, there were no signs that Maria de Lurdes “tried to get out” of her macabre excuse for a coffin, though there were marks around her neck consistent with an attempt by a third party at strangulation.
The most likely scenario seems that Maria de Lurdes lost consciousness as she was being strangled, and her murderer then placed her inside the freezer, leaving the apartment in Salreu, Estarreja at some point afterwards.
For now, reports do not explain whether police have any leads as to the dead woman’s killer, nor what may have been his or her motive.
According to CM, Maria de Lurdes Marques did not have a good relationship with certain neighbours. Police are thus pursuing theories including “a settling of scores” and “vengeance”.