Vivi D., a woman from Brazil, asked me to profile fellow Brazilian Carla Vicentini. I was going to make her my MP of the week but decided to do a Select It Sunday case for her instead.
Carla was 22 and living in Newark, New Jersey on a cultural exchange program when she disappeared on February 9, 2006. Vivi D., when asking for me to give the case some publicity, said, “There was not a lot of publicity in her case since she was a student in Brazil, she was there only a month when it happened.” Carla’s Charley Project casefile notes that her case “has been well-covered in the media in Brazil and in Portuguese-language newspapers in New Jersey, but the mainstream American press has given it little attention.”
I haven’t updated Carla’s case since 2009, but I ought to. I found this 2010 article and this 2015 article, both from the Star-Ledger newspaper, with additional details about her case.
She was a very attractive young woman, didn’t speak much English, and was perhaps a bit naive — she grew up in a small farming community in Brazil, and Newark is a pretty rough city. She was last seen leaving a bar with a strange man; my guess is he was either a trafficker or, more likely, a garden-variety predator who wouldn’t take no for an answer, and that he knows what happened to her. The problem is that he has yet to be identified.
Three-week-old Bryan Dos Santos Gomes was kidnapped at knifepoint from Fort Myers, Florida in 2006. Three and a half years later, the police don’t seem to know anything more than they did right after it happened. In the investigation it came out that Bryan’s parents are both illegal immigrants from Brazil (although Bryan was born in the US and is therefore an automatic American citizen), but nothing was really done about this, presumably because of the sympathy for their plight and also because Bryan’s mom was a witness to the abduction and her testimony will be needed if they ever catch who did it. The Dos Santoses now have two more children; I believe Bryan was their firstborn.
Well, now it looks like Bryan’s dad, at least, will be deported. He was arrested in November for driving without a license and now the ICE has plans to ship him back to Brazil. Bryan’s mother does not seem to be facing deportation, but she says in this article that if her husband is sent back to Brazil she will have no choice but to join him there. There’s some hope that Bryan’s father will be eligible for something called a U Visa, which allows illegal immigrants who were victims of violent crime to stay in the US for four years.
It’s a very sad situation no matter where you stand on the immigration issue. And I might add that many of the comments on those articles are disgusting. Some people have no compassion at all.