Dead man wheeled into bank by niece to withdraw Ksh397K loan may have been poisoned – autopsy report

By , K24 Digital
On Sat, 20 Apr, 2024 09:05 | 3 mins read
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Crime scene police tape. PHOTO/Pexel

The 68-year-old man whose corpse was wheeled into a bank by his niece trying to get a loan was malnourished and may have been poisoned, officials said.

An autopsy, obtained by Brazilian news outlet Metrópoles on Wednesday, showed that Paulo Braga's death was caused by 'bronchoaspiration and heart failure.'

The coroner's office is now awaiting the results of an additional test to determine if the 68-year-old was poisoned.

'Such data corroborates the necroscopic finding of malnutrition and bronchoaspiration,' the report indicated. 'The previous heart disease found also contributed to the death event.'

Rio de Janeiro police arrested Érika de Souza, 42, on Tuesday after she visited the bank with Braga's corpse in an attempt to take out a loan for 17,000 reais ($3,250) and tried to get him to sign for it.

A video recorded by the bank staff showed de Souza holding a pen and moving Braga's hand to sign the document moments after his head tilted.

Footage showed Érika de Souza instructing her uncle Paulo Braga to hold of his pen encouraged him to sign a piece of paper at the bank branch. PHOTO/Jam Press

She could be heard in the footage telling Braga, 'Uncle, are you listening? You need to sign.'

De Souza then told the teller, 'He doesn't say anything, that's just how he is,' and turned to her uncle and said, 'If you're not okay, I'm going to take you to the hospital.'

The bankers were concerned with the woman's behavior and called the police, who arrested her on the scene.

Paramedics performed CPR on Braga and found that he was already dead and then discovered cadaver marks behind his head that indicated that he would have been dead for two hours.

De Souza told police that he was alive when they visited the bank, a claim they have challenged.

Érika de Souza after she was arrested. PHOTO/ Jam Press

She told investigators that Braga was discharged from an urgent care center Monday and told her that he wanted a loan to purchase a new television and to cover the cost of repairs at his home.

De Souza said that she picked him up at his residence Tuesday and noticed that he was weak. She added he was unresponsive when they entered the bank.

A motorcycle taxi driver was interviewed by the police Wednesday and said that Braga was alive when de Souza called him over at around 12:20 pm so that he could assist her in getting him out of the house, according to O Globo newspaper.

CCTV footage shows Érika de Souza talking to a driver after her uncle Paulo Braga was taken out of the car and placed on a wheelchair. PHOTO/ Jam Press

'When I entered the house, Paulo was lying in bed,' he said. 'I took Paulo by the arms, with Erika's help, and took him into the car. I was able to see that he was still breathing and had strength in his hands.'

Police also spoke with the ride share app driver who picked up Braga and de Souza at 12:26 pm and dropped them off at the mall at 12:52 pm.

O Globo also had access to his testimony in which he said that he spent seven minutes alone with Braga in the car while de Souza went to search for a wheelchair at the mall.

'He (Braga) even held the car door,' when he was being helped out to get on the wheelchair.

Surveillance videos showed Braga being placed on the wheelchair and pushed away at the mall parking lot and also at the mall before reaching the bank.

The medical examiner's office believes Braga may have died between 11:30 am 2:30 pm.