Hunt for Paulo Cupertino had bell at wake and escape in watermelon truck

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The Civil Police of São Paulo used a wide range of investigative strategies in the hunt for businessman Paulo Cupertino, accused of killing “Chiquititas” actor Rafael Miguel and his parents, which lasted three years and led to his capture last Monday, 16.

Agents even monitored the wake of the suspect’s foster mother, in 2020, in the expectation that he would go undercover at the scene. They also sometimes went to farms in Mato Grosso do Sul (MS), possibly where the accused hid the longest. Shortly before one of these trips, he would have fled in a truck loaded with watermelons.

The businessman ended up being arrested in São Paulo earlier this week. Cupertino arrived at the police station building with an air of celebrity and even mocked the searches. As time passed, reports indicate that he better assimilated that he had been arrested and left the place with his head down.

The delegate of the Capture Division Ivalda Aleixo, one of those responsible for the investigations, detailed moments of the hunt and the first hours after the arrest. At the beginning, in June 2019, says the delegate, the police managed to monitor the fugitive’s initial tracks, even though he was a few steps behind him. “The fact was on Sunday. He goes to Sao Roque [SP] in the morning and on Tuesday [17]to Campinas [SP]. From there, you can catch a bus and go to Ponta Porã [MS].”

The scape

According to Ivalda, about 20 days before the crime, Cupertino had gone to Mato Grosso do Sul. “We knew he did these things, because of the type of business he had, in auto parts, the so-called ‘dismantling’”, explains the police officer.

“All the time, even on Instagram, I received complaints. It came from everywhere.” Some people even created fake profiles to get in touch with investigators. “I think we received more than 300, 400 complaints about where he was seen. Sometimes they even sent a photo.”

In addition to following up on incoming information, the police closely monitored Cupertino’s family and neighborhood in São Paulo, looking for clues as to where he was. When Cupertino’s foster mother died in 2020, police officers huddled at the wake hoping to find him.

“When the information came, we said ‘let’s stay close by, because he might not show up at the time, but show up later, or even come home’”, says the delegate. The wanted, however, did not attend the wake or contact the family in the following days.

It was in Eldorado, in Mato Grosso do Sul, one of the cities close to the border with Paraguay, that the capture was closest to happening. “It was very short,” recalls Ivalda. “He ended up escaping in a watermelon truck. He said this: that he got into a truck there, which had some watermelons, and left.”

According to the delegate, this would have been the place where the fugitive spent the most time: from the first half of 2020 until around February 2021. After a period working on the farm, an employee suspected that the co-worker would be Cupertino. He noticed the change and ran away.

Paulo Cupertino was arrested this Monday (16), in the south zone of the city of São Paulo.

fake certificate

There are also indications that he worked on a farm in Paraguay 300 kilometers from the border. Agents from the Department of Homicide and Personal Protection (DHPP) went to the scene, but without success. Upon learning that he had been located, he would have fled to Argentina. Cupertino denies. Still in 2021, he returned to Brazil. He took an RG in a city in the interior of Paraná with a fake birth certificate, and returned to Paraguay.

Cupertino was arrested in a hotel last Monday (16), after an anonymous tip. He denied being the perpetrator of the murders. The actor and his parents, João Alcisio Miguel, 52, and Miriam Selma Miguel, 50, were shot dead in 2019.

(Collaborated with Leon Ferrari)

Source: CNN Brasil

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