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New heartache in unresolved murder of Algarve teen Rodrigo Lapa

News from Brazil this week has heaped more heartache on those pressing for justice for the murder five months ago of Algarve teen Rodrigo Lapa.

Despite Rodrigo’s so-called step-father Joaquim Lara Pinto being identified as the principal suspect over the killing – and in the face of claims by the boy’s mother that she heard Pinto attack her son the day he went missing – the man’s defence lawyer has told Brazilian media that his client professes total innocence.

Pinto’s flight from Portugal to Brazil was paid “more than a month before the boy’s disappearance” and there is still “nothing official” against him, Raphael Arantes has told Olhar Direito.

Pinto “is staying in the region (of Cuíaba) with relatives and, I repeat, there is not even an investigation ongoing against my client”, the lawyer added.

Indeed, Pinto and Arantes are reported to have presented themselves to Brazil’s federal police three months ago, following the flood of allegations that filled both mainstream and social media.

Pinto has surrendered his passport, says Arantes, and promised to attend any “processual acts” that could ensue.

He has no plans to leave the city “although there is nothing impeding him from doing so”.

In short, “he has not been summoned by the authorities” in any way, shape or form.

The stark reality of a situation that so many feel is cut-and-dried has seen an outpouring of frustration and sadness on the “Together for Rodrigo Lapa and All Other Children” Facebook page.

Campaigners who only recently came out, to say “Enough Silence! This is time for action” (click here) are clearly dreading the possibility that as a result of his distance from Portugal, the principal suspect of this brutal murder could get off Scott free.

“For pity’s sake, let’s see justice done”, said one comment, while others continue with allegations that Pinto did not act alone (click here).

What is odd is that this news coming from Brazil follows a story here, in Sol weekly newspaper nearly three weeks ago that affirmed Portuguese police “at last have the information they need to elaborate the necessary rogatory letter to authorities in Brazil” (click here).

Thus, so many months since Rodrigo’s half-stripped body was found on scrubland near his mother’s home, with wire round his neck and his face disfigured, friends and thousands of supporters of children without a voice remain on tenterhooks.

Will justice ever be seen to done for Rodrigo Lapa?

Meantime, the boy’s devastated father Sérgio has been interviewed by Olhar Direito and appealed to readers living in Pinto’s area of Mato Grosso to “hand him over to police”.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com