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 | Ilustração: Osvalter Urbinati e Robson Vilalba
| Foto: Ilustração: Osvalter Urbinati e Robson Vilalba

Find out about some cases with or without material evidence

January 2010 – PMN was killed on January 26th, 2010. According to the only witness interviewed by the police during the investigation, the victim may have been killed due to a debt over a hot dog. The inquiry was set up on April 5th, 2010 and the necropsy was carried out on January 24th, 2012—nearly two years later.

March 2012: ASP was shot in the Industrial City neighborhood. He was transported to hospital where he died from his wound. The motive of the crime remains unknown. In addition to the lack of material evidence that may lead to the identification of a suspect, the necropsy record sheet took six months to be edited and attached to the inquiry.

March 2012: J.A.U was killed in front of a bar. The suspect initially denied the crime. The police carried out ballistic exams, analyzed cell-phone records and tested blood samples collected at the crime scene. The inquiry advanced pushing the Public Prosecutor Office to take the case to court. The suspect is to appear at the Jury Court.

"There is no delayed necropsy report at the Forensic Medical Institute", says the director of the Scientific Police

According to the general director of the Scientific Police, Leon Grupenmacher, who took office in April, necropsy reports are done within thirty days. He certifies that the results of the crime scene examination are available within ten days. "There is no delayed report produced at the Forensic Medical Institute", he claims.

Regarding the inquiries which do not contain the two examinations, Grupenmacher affirms that they the exams had been done but probably did not reach the inquiry due to a communication failure.

He claims that the Scientific Police has the capacity to carry out various types of material evidence examinations when requested by the Civil Police. According to police chief Rubens Recalcatti, who has been head of the Homicide Unit of Curitiba for the past two years, the explanation for the low rate of the material evidence is simple: some crimes do not leave trails. To him, it would be ideal to have scientific experts working at the unit.

Regarding the number of experts, the general director says that it would be ideal to follow the American model and hire at least 260 to meet the current demand. There are currently 118 professionals in Curitiba and its region.According to State of Paraná for Public Safety Cid Vasques, opening public examinations to recruit new professionals has already been considered. The Secretary for Planning is reviewing the issue and will determine which institution to be responsible for the selection process.

The secretary also affirms by email that with the new procedure the reports will be available faster. Grupenmacher believes that a system will give the different police forces and the Judicial access to the reports will be implemented by the end of the year. "The police chief will be able to consult the reports therefore the whole investigation process."

Every crime leaves a trail. But the Police does not always goes after it. Collecting material evidence makes a big difference. It had a big impact in the investigation of Tayná Adriane da Silva’s death which took place in June 2013 in Colombo for instance. It was decisive too in the investigation of Isabella Nardoni´s murder which took March 2008 in São Paulo and led to the condemnation of two people. The special analysis in these cases – like the examination of blood samples, DNA and security camera footage – corroborated the work of the police or gave some leads to the investigators. Their goal is always to get rid of some doubts.

However, the examples listed above are exceptions. In most cases, the police does not use such type of evidence to find out who the author of the crime is. The exclusive analysis by Gazeta do Povo of 1000 murders that occurred in Curitiba between 2010 and 2013 shows that only 19% of the cases contain material evidence – besides the two most basic regular examinations include necropsy and the examination of the crime scene. Material evidence can include the examination of cell-phones, ballistic cross-checks, the analysis of security camera footage, fingerprints and DNA tests, for example.

A majority of investigations are only based on the witness statements. "Not that the witness lacks credential, but sometimes, it ends up in a fight between one’s words against another’s", says sociologist Pedro Bodê, coordinator of the Study Center for Public Safety and Human Rights at the Federal University of Paraná. According to the President of the Brazilian Association of Criminology, Iremar Paulino da Silva, no matter how well a crime is investigated, it is crucial to show evidence. "If there is no material evidence, the entire work of the investigator, of the police chief, will be toppled when it gets to court," he adds.

In addition to the small amount of material evidence collected by the investigators, the reporters of Gazeta do Povo have revealed that many inquiries lack the mandatory regular examinations. Of the inquires analyzed, 11% had no report of necropsy – which is used to determine the cause of death and can be carried out up to ten days following the murder, according the Penal Code. The report of the analysis of the crime scene was absent in 50,4% of the inquiries.

Evidence is crucialWhen it is available, material evidence may lead a suspect to court. This is what happened in the case of a triple murder that took place in the Industrial City neighborhood in January 2011. Two men invaded a house pretending to be officers of the Civil Police. When the people living in the house requested the two men to show some official identification, the men answered with gun fires. Only one out of the four persons living in the house survived the crime. A ballistic exam showed which type of weapon had been used during the crime. With this information, the police identified a suspect who is now appearing before court to respond to the deaths of three people.

Suspected of strangling his wife to death, a man is released because of a lack of police report

João (fictious name) was argueing with his wife Rosimeire. In the early hours of the morning of December 10th 2010, he called the Siate which recorded the woman’s death by strangulation. He denied the crime. João was arrested but, two months later, Justice asked for his release for a simple motive: the necropsy had not been done. Without this element, there was no evidence that Rosimeire had been murdered, said the judge.

The reportage also showed long delays in providing the results of the necropsy. Gazeta do Povo reporters showed that the Scientific Police takes four months on average to write the report of the exam that determines the nature of the victim’s death. They also came across at least 36 cases set up in 2013 that lacked this document attached to the inquiry thirty days after the murder was reported. In five cases, the necropsy exam had not been included to the inquiry as up as 90 days after its setting up. The reports may have been written, but there were not yet officially part of the investigation.

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