Confusion over what really happened to murdered Portimão teenager Rodrigo Lapa seems to intensify by the day as his mother, Célia, has appeared before television cameras on a number of occasions changing her story.
The woman’s appearance on SIC daytime television on Tuesday (Queridas Manhãs) was particularly shocking as she denied all the stories of conflicts in the home, suggesting the relationship between Rodrigo and his stepfather Joaquim Lara Pinto – the principal suspect in the boy’s death – was a completely normal one.
This is after the mother of one of Rodrigo’s friends had stressed in front of television cameras over the weekend that the relationship was far from normal and one about which she had found herself compelled to talk to the PJ.
As noticiasaominuto stresses this morning, Célia Barreto has been seen to change her story “in different interviews” – even suggesting that she asked the commission for the protection of children and minors to take charge of her six-month-old baby, as the child had been “receiving threats”.
“I will pick her up as soon as I have my life back,” she told SIC “between tears”. “I lost a son but I have a daughter for whom I have to continue living.”
With Rodrigo’s father reacting to Célia’s interview on Queridas Manhãs as her having “lied with all her teeth”, the mother-of-two has since admitted that the constant contradictions could come from her “fragilised state”.
The PJ could have asked her anything, she said, and she would have said “yes to everything.
“I had just lost my son and was completely desolate,” she explained.
But as Queridas Manhãs police commentator Hernani Carvalho has since explained, the interviews Célia has been giving may help detectives as they have more than one line of investigation, and “there has to be more than one suspect”.
“Rodrigo did not end up in that scrubland by chance,” he said, the day after the controversial interview that saw the programme’s hostess Júlia Pinheiro say she had “an instinct” that Célia “knows more” but is not saying what she knows.
“The boy did not die there, and to take him there needed more than one person. It would have been very difficult for one person to have taken him there,” Carvalho stressed.
“There are incongruities,” he added. “And the police have to work them out. Three days after the boy was reported missing, the mother said: I am expecting the worst. I have never seen a mother do this before.”
Closing one of the many analyses of this case that has inflamed the nation, Carvalho agreed we could expect “surprising news, possibly very soon”.
The principal suspect could emerge from the town in Brazil to which he is purported to have fled, with a completely different story.