Brazil man freed ‘after 20 years in captivity’

BBC:-Brazilian police have rescued by chance a man who neighbours said had been held in captivity by his own family for more than 20 years.

The 36-year-old man was found during an unrelated anti-drug raid in a poor area of the south-eastern city of Guarulhos.

Police said he was malnourished and could not speak or stand up. Witnesses said his beard, which almost reached his waistline, was covered in faeces.

Neighbours said the man had disappeared when he was 16.

They identified him as Armando Bezerra de Andrade. They told Agora newspaperthat he was an outgoing student who was regularly beaten by his stepmother, before suddenly vanishing.

Pictures of the room where the man was found showed only a bed and a dirty toilet. Reports said the walls had chains.

Officials said the victim had signs of mental health problems, and was taken to a local hospital.

There was no-one else in the house when the police stormed it. Neighbours said the man’s father, stepmother and her son used to live there.

Mr Andrade’s father later went to a police station and told officers that the victim had fled the house when he was a teenager. He returned last week, the father claimed, asking to be kept by the family in the room because he was a drug user.

Police said the father, who was not arrested, was being charged with false imprisonment. The investigation continues.