RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A man in a remote fishing village in Brazil kept his daughter imprisoned for 12 years, raped her repeatedly and had seven children with her, police said Wednesday. The man is also accused of abusing a young girl he had with his daughter.
Police allege that Jose Agostinho Pereira, 54, kept his daughter, now 28, under virtual house arrest in a two-room, thatched-roof hut near a tiny fishing village in northeastern Brazil.
An officer who aided in the arrest said the home was located in such a remote, jungle area that the only way to reach it was by using canoes. Authorities said the children appeared to suffer from malnutrition and could barely communicate with others. Most were unclothed.
The alleged abuse began when Pereira’s wife left him in 1998, said police inspector Jair Lima de Paiva.
Pereira has been in jail since Tuesday in the city of Pinheiro in Maranhao state, about 1,400 miles (2,250 kilometers) north of Rio de Janeiro. Charges have not been filed against him. Under Brazilian law, prosecutors only file charges after police have ended their investigation.
It was not immediately known if Pereira had a lawyer.
Paiva said Pereira kept his daughter and the children in nearly complete isolation in the countryside near the village of Experimento, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) outside of Pinheiro.
While the exact ages of the children — four girls and three boys — were not known as none of their births were registered, police believe they range in age from 2-months-old to 12.
“None of them were allowed to leave the house. None can read, they can barely communicate with other people,” said Paiva. “They were all threatened with their lives if they tried to escape or tell anyone about the situation.”
Paiva said police were tipped off about Pereira’s alleged crimes by an anonymous phone call.
Officers from Pinheiro were sent to the remote area about 10 days ago, where they located Pereira’s house, kept it under observation for a few days and then arrested him.
“He confessed to everything,” said a police officer who helped arrest Pereira, speaking on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorized to discuss the case.
Pereira’s daughter and the seven children are now under the care of the government’s protective services.
It was last year in Austria that Josef Fritzl was found guilty of locking his daughter in a dungeon for 24 years and fathering seven children with her.