After over two weeks in which the country’s police forces have singularly failed to catch 44-year-old Pedro Dias, Portugal’s most wanted man, reports have started appearing suggesting this manhunt and the trail of blood supposedly behind it may not be what it seems.
Observador website has been the source brave enough to ask most of the inconvenient questions, as elsewhere national news still focuses on the ‘chase’ – reporting on places Dias is meant to have stayed, robbed and otherwise eluded his aspirant captors, and suggesting there has been marked “lack of coordination” between police forces involved.
Headlining the story: Seven doubts that have still not been clarified, Observador recalls that at the outset of this desperate bloodbath, Dias was described as being accompanied by ‘other suspects’.
These have since ‘vanished’ from all reports, leading people to believe that Dias was out on his own in the early hours of the morning when approached by the GNR agents whom he allegedly went on to shoot at point-blank range in the head: one of them with fatal consequences.
Here too Observador asks why two armed GNR men were incapable of “dominating” a man on his own.
Doubt number three centres on why Dias fired at all.
Observador says the convictions he has for domestic violence, and illegally keeping exotic animals “go back years” and he had only just won custody of his 10-year-old daughter. Why, at this stage in his life, was he travelling about armed with a gun at all, the website asks.
Doubts four and five centre on more intellectual concerns: which force should bring him in, the GNR or the PJ – and why haven’t they managed it so far?
Is Dias being helped by someone, as news reports suggested after the discovery of a supermarket receipt found in one of the houses he is believed to have broken into, and finally has Pedro Dias already managed to leave the country?
Despite the huge mobilisation, Observador points out that there have been no confirmed sightings of the “heavily armed man” since last Sunday when he gagged two people with recourse to a raw potato and a sock before making off in a car belonging to one of them, supposedly with only €5 of fuel in the tank.
There are so many queries in this case that critics are focusing on these ‘grey areas’ and wondering if this is what Portuguese people call an “história mal contada” – a story missing out vital pieces of information.
Elsewhere, jokes are being shared on social media. “Pedro Dias has changed his name to Pedro Semanas” (as he has been missing for weeks, not days) – and the Russian fleet that passed through Portugal’s exclusive economic zone “stopped off at Aguiar da Beira on Tuesday, to help police searches and allow President Putin time to pose with GNR agents for selfies”.
Despite reminders from Justice Minister Francisca van Dunem that this investigation “is not a reality show”, the hunt for the double killer from Aguiar da Beira appears to have become just that.