Investigations and Benedito’s Prison
Between December 1950 and November 1953, the São Paulo police found an outbreak of sadism and sexual crimes. They even happened twice a week, an extremely high rate for the time. The police were quite lost in the investigations.
In the holydays of 1952, Gertrudes Dunzinger was murdered. The police were soon called to the crime scene. Police investigator Adalberto João Kurt, who answered the call, shocked when an old man who claimed to have seen a man following Gertrudes started shouting unexpectedly, pointing at him. The killer was not Kurt, but it was his face! This was the police’s first clue as to the appearance of the man they were looking for.
The investigators responsible for the Gertrude case then began to collect testimony from witnesses of other crimes, which apparently had no connection.
With astonishment, they realized that in fact, in all of them, a strong individual was described, always carrying a brown leather briefcase under his arm, auburn, similar to the investigator Kurt in height and physiognomy. The witnesses’ descriptions also pointed to a man who wore a small, well-trimmed mustache and often a gray hat with the brim lowered, which partially hid his face.
Their victims were often found in a similar way; the modus operandi in all crimes appeared to be similar. The police could only conclude that a pervert was on the loose in the city.
The sequence of sexual crimes between 1951 and 1952 in São Paulo indicated that the criminal had extensive experience in this area and a good probability of having previously spent with the police.
A detailed investigation was initiated in the archives of the Police Station of Customs, in the State Penitentiary, in the House of Detention and in the district police stations in general, using lists of sex offenders placed on probation or who had already completed their sentence. Even newspaper archives were searched.
This immense work resulted in a list of names of possible suspects, who were being studied patiently and eliminated by exclusion, either because of their appearance or their modus operandi.
When examining the files of the police station of the 10th Circumscription, Distrito da Penha, they came across the file of Benedito Moreira de Carvalho. Upon examining the photos, his appearance soon caught the attention of the police … The blond man was very similar to the investigator Kurt!
It was verified in his medical record that he had already served time for rape in the State Penitentiary and was simultaneously responding to two sexual crimes cases: double attack committed in the municipality of Poá, which at that time still belonged to Mogi das Cruzes, and another against a young Japanese woman in Sao Paulo.
Reading the police reports indicated that Benedito’s way of acting was very similar to those of the unsolved cases that were being investigated. Rigorous investigations began around him.
They soon discovered that he had fled the Mogi das Cruzes jail in August 1951 and that, on the same day, he had committed rape and attempted rape in Itaquera.
The suspect used several names: Joaquim Moreira de Carvalho, Benedito Moura de Carvalho and José Carvalho.
At that moment of the investigations, there was another rape with death: Ruth, on August 18, 1952.
When the police arrived at the crime scene and interviewed witnesses, they obtained information that indicated the presence of a thin, blond man, with height around 1.70 meters, hat with a brim lowered and leather briefcase in hand. This description matched Benedito’s. They immediately went after him.
They found out that Benedito was a sawmill professional. Investigators Mário Gonçalves, Athos Tescarollo, Antonio Belli and Alcides de Oliveira, guided by delegate Francisco Petrarca Iello, surveyed the addresses of all sawmills in São Paulo and pointed out the criminal’s various jobs on a map. They checked all frequency sheets, cards and time books for those locations. Without exception, Benedito had missed work or been unemployed on the dates of the crimes, which always occurred close to the sawmills. There was no longer any doubt that Benedito Moreira de Carvalho was the author of the crimes being investigated.
The task of locating the suspect was far from easy. He gave false addresses of his home in all jobs and even in his union, which was another indication that he was someone with something to hide. Finally they arrived at the correct address: Rua Ponciano 32, Guaiaúna, São Paulo.
On August 29, 1952, the São Paulo police investigation team, dressed in overalls and workers’ suits, parked a truck in front of Benedito’s house. It was two in the morning and everyone pretended to be repairing the “broken truck”.
At about 4:30 am that morning, Benedito Moreira de Carvalho left the house with caution, after examining the surroundings, as if he knew something was wrong. He had a brown leather briefcase in his hand.
Investigators immediately gave him a prison sentence. He didn’t react. Upon examining the contents of his briefcase, they found that he only carried a string with a loop at one end. The finding was important evidence, as two of the victims had been strangled with similar material.
Benedito Moreira de Carvalho was arrested and interrogated.
Investigations and Benedito’s Prison