Mr Santoro Could Be Tried In Brazil For Ex-Partner's Murder
The alleged killer of Brazilian-born, Sydney mining executive Cecilia Haddad is likely to face court in Brazil after being arrested by local officers, with it remaining unclear if he will be extradited to Australia.
Mario Santoro was arrested by Rio de Janeiro police officers at a relative’s home in the city’s Botafogo district on Saturday over the death of his former girlfriend, whose body was found floating fully clothed in the Lane Cove River in late April.
Mr Santoro was found to have fled Australia for Rio de Janeiro on the same day that Ms Haddad’s body was discovered by kayakers.
40-year-old Santoro became a person of interest in the investigation after it was uncovered that he had had both a romantic and professional involvement with Ms Haddad for more than ten years.
Just weeks before her death, Ms Haddad ended her relationship with Mr Santoro and kicked him out of her Ryde apartment.
Sydney authorities eventually issued a warrant for Mr Santoro’s arrest over the alleged murder, however, Brazilian officers were reluctant to do the same as they typically do not extradite their own citizens.
However, the Homicide Division in Brazil confirmed in a statement translated from Portuguese to English that police had spoken with Haddad’s relatives and a warrant for his arrest had been issued on Thursday.
Local footage shows Santoro being led through a frenzied media pack on his way into a police station following his arrest. It’s reported that when Mr Santoro surrendered to police he told them, “I’ve ended my life.”
Fabio Cardoso, from Rio's homicide division, said police believe Ms Haddad was killed by asphyxiation.
"In April, by not accepting the break-up, he (Santoro) allegedly killed her by asphyxiation by pressing her neck and dumping her body in the river," Mr Cardoso told the Seven Network in Brazil. "We know he had the key to her house because he lived there for a while."
NSW police are expected to travel to Brazil shortly to assist local officers, however, it is still unclear if he will be extradited to Australia.
Mr Santoro has hired a high-powered legal team to assist him in the trial and if he is convicted, he can face up to 15-years behind bars.