Photo: U.S. Tourist Gang Raped Rio
The U.S. State Department on Tuesday confirmed the U.S. nationality of the tourist raped last weekend in a transit van in Rio de Janeiro, and it thanked Brazilian authorities for their rapid assistance in the matter.
“We can confirm that a U.S. citizen was sexually assaulted in Rio de Janeiro. Our thoughts are with the victim at this difficult time,” spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said at her daily press conference.
According to the tourist’s complaint, the incident occurred early on Saturday morning when she and her boyfriend boarded a microbus that was driving through the tourist neighborhood of Copacabana and was en route to the bohemian and central Lapa neighborhood.
Shortly thereafter, two men forced the other passengers to get out of the microbus in the nearby neighborhood of Botafogo and took the foreigners to the nearby city of Niteroi, holding them hostage for six hours but eventually releasing them in the Rio suburb of Itaborai, police said.
During that time, the boyfriend of the victim was violently beaten and handcuffed while one of the attackers raped the women in the vehicle.
“Our consulate in Rio is in contact with the victim; we’re also providing all appropriate consular assistance to her,” added Nuland.
“I want to also take this opportunity to thank the Brazilian authorities for their quick response and assistance,” she said.
On Sunday, a day after the complaint, Brazilian police announced the arrest of two men accused of rape and robbery.
Jonathan Foudakis de Souza, 20, and Wallace Aparecido Souza Silva, 22 - whom the tourists later identified and one of whom was the driver of the microbus - were arrested in the neighboring city of Sao Gonzalo on Saturday night, just a few hours after the incident occurred.
The two men also had taken the bankcards of the two tourists, demanded the cards’ PIN numbers and made several cash withdrawals at ATMs along the microbus’s route.
A Brazilian woman later went to the police and told officers that the suspects, who do not have prior criminal records, raped her a week earlier on the same microbus.
The woman saw the men’s photos on the Internet and recognized them as the individuals who picked her up in a microbus in Copacabana, abducted and raped her, and later left her in Sao Gonzalo.