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Story Publication logo June 22, 2022

Maxciel’s Family Did Their Own Investigation of the Case but Never Received a Response From the Federal Police (Portuguese)


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This story excerpt was translated from Portuguese. To read the original story in full, visit Agência Pública. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.

Image by Avener Prado/Agência Pública. Brazil, 2022.
  • "I came to the Federal Police several times and saw that there was no solution there," said the relative
  • Pedro* heard about the possible authors and executors of the crime and delivered the material to the Federal Police
  • Aras asked for information and demanded solutions for Maxciel's case in contact with the Federal Police

Tired of months of silence from the Federal Police, a relative of Maxciel Pereira dos Santos, a former Funai employee who was shot to death at the age of 35 in the city of Tabatinga (AM) in September 2019, decided to go into the field to try to gather information about the principals and executors of the crime. In 2020, Pedro* traveled around Tabatinga and the neighboring municipalities to try to gather some information about the murder. 

"I came to the Federal several times and saw that there was no solution there," said the relative in an interview with Agência Pública. "First because there was no forensics or anything. We received Maxciel's body the way it came in from the street. We had to clean it up. Can you imagine the family having to do that? They were supposed to go to the IML, do a ballistics exam, do a criminal exam to be able to create an incriminating evidence. If you read the forensics that they did on Maxciel's body you won't believe it," he says. According to him, the report was very vague in describing the injuries that caused the Indigenous victim's death.

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"Then I thought: 'What am I going to do to help the case?'" He started his work visiting the Federal Prosecutor's Office in Tabatinga, then the Federal and Civil Police in the city where Max died. Following that, he left for Atalaia do Norte (AM), the municipality closest to the Funai base where the ex-servant worked, and listened to and recorded conversations with shopkeepers, taxi drivers, fishermen, Indigenous people and Maxciel's Funai colleagues. "That was when I heard about the threats he received, including inside Funai buildings," he said. 

The murder of indigenist Maxciel Pereira dos Santos in September 2019 has gone unpunished. Image by Avener Prado/Agência Pública. Brazil, 2022.

Maxciel was murdered on Avenida da Amizade, the main public road in Tabatinga (AM), in front of his wife and daughter. Image by Avener Prado/Agência Pública. Brazil, 2022.

"I came to the Federal several times and saw that there was no solution there," says a relative. Image by Avener Prado/Agência Pública. Brazil, 2022.


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