Sorocaba, San Paulo, Brazil: Allegedly Mentally Ill Woman Kept Locked In Cellar For 16 Years

28 Jan

A Brazilian man has been arrested on suspicion of keeping his wife locked in a squalid basement for 16 years while he lived with another woman in the same house.

Acting on a tip, police yesterday found Sebastiana Aparecida Groppo (64) in the cellar of the house in the city of Sorocaba in Sao Paulo state.

The floor of the roughly 12-square-metre cellar was littered with faeces and dead cockroaches, Sorocaba police inspector Ana Luiza Salomone said today.

“She was found without clothes wrapped up in a blanket,” said Ms Salomone, adding that the windows had been shuttered and were covered in mould.

Joao Batista Groppo and the woman who had been living with him both were arrested on charges of illegal imprisonment. The husband (64) told police that he had locked up his wife of 42 years because she was mentally ill and aggressive.

Ms Salomone said Groppo had apparently kept his wife imprisoned for two periods totalling 16 years, the second coming after 2003 when their son died in an accident.

The wife showed signs of mental problems that could have been caused by her captivity, Ms Salomone said, but showed no signs of being aggressive and had no serious health problems.

Groppo and his companion could face up to eight years in prison, she said.


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