Missing Azores ‘property speculators’: police make arrest
Ilha do Pico has the highest mountain in Portugal, and the highest elevation of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Missing Azores ‘property speculators’: police make arrest

German man cited for murder

The mystery of two missing ‘property speculators’ in the Azores appears to have been solved, albeit there is still no sign of them (see update below).

PJ police are convinced the men are dead, says tabloid Correio da Manhã. They will have been shot by a German neighbour who has been remanded in preventive custody by magistrates until his trial on two counts of murder.

Bizarrely, the motive appears to be that the German man “did not want neighbours”.

The police theory appears to be that German had already threatened other people who had turned up to look at the plot of land for sale, close to his, in Campo Raso, in the parish of Madalena, on Ilha do Pico. These other people “fled when they were threatened”, says CM.

Locals have described the man as “very violent” with a habit of threatening to shoot when he saw ‘strangers’ in the area.

Mário Coucelos and his friend and partner Mário Sobral presumably had no knowledge of the German man’s proclivities.

Says CM, he may have become violent as soon as he saw the men on the land.

All that is clear is that “enough evidence” has been found to leave investigators with “no doubts that both were killed”. There were even shell casings discovered during forensic searches.

But as to where the bodies are, the German has so far said nothing.

Authorities have thus resumed searches in earnest over land and sea – ensuring relatives can grieve properly being “one of the priorities”, says the paper.

Even without recovery of the bodies, PJ police can advance with their case, CM explains. 

“The German risks 25 years in jail”, which is the maximum sentence in Portugal for murder.

UPDATE: Since CM’s story, events have moved on in the worst possible form. It now seems the ‘German’ (a naturalised German but hailing originally from Bosnia) disposed of the two men in a slow, burning bonfire, which locals now realise ‘smelt strongly of burnt meat’…

In other words, hopes to return the men’s remains to grieving families have seemingly been dashed.

This is the most bizarre and macabre incident to have affected the island of Pico in recent years. The ‘German’ has been named as Tomislav Jozic, aged 60, an ‘elite marksman’ whose day-to-day behaviour has always been locally remarked on as odd.

CMTV is due to run a special on this horrific story at 9.30pm this evening.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com