The killer of Spanish chef David Peregrina Capó, 53, and his wife, Brazilian Erika da Silva Santos, 38, is still at large, but the Civil Police of Porto Seguro announced his identity on Friday, revealing that he perpetrated the brutal crime out of revenge and ordered his search and capture. Investigators have concluded that Eliandro Loureço Menezes, whom the cook left a few years ago in the care of the river island where the couple lived while Peregrina traveled to Spain, where he was tried and convicted of fraud, killed them after he reneged on a promise to give him part of the land. Commissioner Euler Gonçalves explained at a press conference.
Menezes, who had a background as a bank robber, and some relatives "used the island to hide drugs and weapons," according to the police chief. While the Spaniard was in Mallorca serving his sentence, "Eliandro was looking after the island as if he were a landlord and, from what we have learned, there was an agreement between David and Eliandro that he would give him part of the island, but that agreement was broken. As Eliandro used the island as a hiding place, he fled and the agreement was not fulfilled and David and Erika continued with their lives," Gonçalves said.
The alleged killer, nicknamed Pai da mata (father of the forest), is on the run and there is a warrant for his arrest. In 2015, police found drugs hidden in the couple's land and in 2017 there was another police operation.
The island and its location — in the middle of a drug trafficking route in one of Brazil's most violent states — are emerging as key elements of a crime that Brazilian police dissociate from the fraud convictions against the Spaniard. The former bank employee fled to Brazil, specifically to Porto Seguro, a city near his wife's birthplace, during a prison leave.
The Civil Police believe that the Spaniard bought the island for one million reais (190,000 euros) with part of the money he swindled from the bank where he worked. The land and the rest of the victims' properties are in the woman's name, according to one of her relatives.
The couple, who lived and ran a restaurant on a river island in a remote area of one of Brazil's most popular tourist destinations, were brutally shot dead on Nov. 23. The double murder shocked those close to him and the rest of the city because of the cruelty exhibited by the perpetrator. And it was a great surprise for almost all their friends and acquaintances to discover, when the couple was already buried, that the chef specializing in paellas was a fugitive from Spanish justice. Their crimes expired in 2020.
The commissioner also detailed that a son of the main suspect in the crime showed up at the police station on Thursday accompanied by a lawyer and assured investigators that his father had confessed to the double murder and that he had no intention of turning himself in. The son was arrested as an alleged accomplice but has presented witnesses to support his alibi.
Police investigations indicate that, despite the years that have passed, Menezes decided to return to collect that debt in view of the visibility that the couple's restaurant was achieving. A place called Os Ribeirinhos, and located in an idyllic setting. Peregrina and Santos, who only received customers with reservations, were looking for investors to expand the business and wanted to sell a portion of the island.