Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
August 29th, 2006
Ransom City
Timeline: Kidnapping in Brazil

Since bursting onto the soccer scene at the age of 18, Robson de Souza, aka Robinho (”Little Robin”), has been known as one of Brazil’s best “footballers.” A forward for Santos Football Club, Robinho grew up in an impoverished neighborhood of São Paulo. His talent on the soccer field has brought him comparisons to Pele, the 1960s soccer superstar to whom Robinho bears an uncanny resemblance. Press reports of Robinho’s escalating income made his family an appealing target for kidnappers.

Nov. 6, 2004 While at a family barbecue outside São Paulo, Robinho’s mother Marina da Silva Souza, 43, is nabbed by two gunned men who have jumped over a wall to get to her. The kidnappers lock party’s hosts in the bathroom and force Souza into the trunk of her car. The car is later discovered abandoned in downtown São Paulo.
Nov. 7, 2004 Robinho withdraws from the Santos team and flies home to be with his family.
Nov. 9, 2004 Robinho appears in public and requests privacy for his family during their crisis. Kidnappers make contact with Robinho’s family and demand a ransom of a million dollars. Robinho’s father manages the negotiations, despite the kidnappers’ insistence that they speak directly with Robinho.
Dec. 16, 2004 Robinho reportedly pays a ransom of $83,000. Marina da Silva Souza is let go on the outskirts of São Paulo after 41 days of captivity. Her first stop is the hospital, where she is found to be in good health, despite losing several pounds. She tells reporters all she wants is coffee and a cigarette. In the following days, Robinho buys her an armor-plated vehicle.
Dec. 18, 2004 Robinho rejoins his Santos teammates and leads them to victory at the 2004 Brazilian Championship.
Feb. 23, 2005 Armed men invade the home of Ilma de Castro Libanio, the mother of São Paulo striker Grafite. After tying up her husband and son, they take Libanio away. Police free her the next day.
March 7, 2005 Sandra Helena Clemente, mother of Luis Fabiano, a striker for a Portuguese football team, is kidnapped. She is released two months later.
March 21, 2005 Ines Fidelis Regis, mother of Sporting Lisbon defender Rogerio, is kidnapped from her home. The police free her four days later.
May 3, 2005 Alice Custódio Nazaré, 62, mother of Corinthians defender Marinho, is abducted by kidnappers disguised as florists. A reported $20,000 is paid for her release.
July 2005 Robinho accepts an offer of $30 million to transfer to the Real Madrid team. In August he will move himself and his family to Spain.
August 14, 2005 Police capture Celio Marcelo da Silva, alias “Bin Laden,” who is believed to be the mastermind behind almost a dozen kidnappings, including that of Marina da Silva Souza.
August 2, 2006 After more than a year since the last soccer mom kidnapping, Noemia de Carvalho Correa, mother of Santos defender Kleber, is abducted. She is rescued by police two hours later.

Produced by THIRTEEN    ©2014 WNET.ORG Properties LLC. All rights reserved.