On the seventh day of Adriel Andrade Bastos' disappearance, his mother started praying on the banks of the Capenga River in Baixada Fluminense. "Water, give me back my son. Make him resurface," said Andreia Bastos, 49. Days later, the body emerged. The river is one of the tributaries of Guandu, which supplies water to the city of Rio de Janeiro.
According to investigations, both are used by militias to dispose of bodies—exactly what happened to Adriel, tortured and killed in August 2022. "I wish the government could provide support for the children of people who have been victims of this system that is taking over Rio de Janeiro. It's a system that is killing people, leaving children orphaned, leaving families without their loved ones, mothers without their children. It has become a massacre," said Andreia.
According to the Civil Police investigation, militiamen removed the young man and three friends from a rideshare car in Nova Iguaçu, a city in the metropolitan region of Rio. The group was going to the mall to buy a bicycle for Adriel's two-year-old daughter. The vehicle was intercepted by masked men armed with rifles during the day, in front of a crowded bar. Andreia conducted her own investigation to try to understand why her son was killed. Adriel lived alone and, on the eve of the abduction, had a group of friends over at his apartment. According to the mother, one of these young men had committed a robbery—Adriel was unaware of this. The crime was reported to militias operating in the area, who decided to kill everyone in the group.