Rodrigo’s Brazilian ‘stepfather’ could be accused of murder in Portugal and tried in Brazil

Following on from the appeal made this week by the father of murdered Algarve teen Rodrigo Lapa, the Public Ministry (MP) is at last considering a ‘rearguard action’ to bring the boy’s alleged killer to justice.

On the basis of “strong suspicions” by PJ investigators – thwarted in their requests to interrogate Rodrigo’s former stepfather who fled to Brazil shortly before the boy’s body was discovered (click here) – the MP is now deciding whether it can go ahead and accuse the man of murder anyway, leaving authorities in Brazil with the responsibility of holding a trial.

The problem in this ‘fight for justice’ is that stepfather Joaquim Lara Pinto is ‘protected’ by the fact there is no extradition agreement in place between Portugal and Brazil – despite the two countries’ otherwise close links.

Campaigning lawyer Pedro Proença, acting for Rodrigo’s grieving father Sérgio, has thus opted for a ‘new approach’ as another way of bringing closure to this case which he told reporters otherwise just continues to cause “profound suffering”.

Many of Rodrigo’s friends have been badly affected by the lack of action over the 15-year-old’s horrible death, while Sérgio Lapa has been to the depths of misery, even attempting suicide.

“My son was killed barbarically”, he told tabloid Correio da Manhã yesterday. “And yet those responsible remain at liberty as if nothing had ever happened”.

In the weeks after Rodrigo’s battered body was found on scrubland near the Portimão home he shared with his mother, stepfather and baby sister, Portuguese media rounded on the mother, suggesting she had been complicit in her son’s death.

Célia Barreto changed her story of events leading up to Rodrigo’s disappearance many times, but was never cited as an “arguido” (click here).

[email protected]