DNA testing has confirmed that a woman's body found in the trunk of a car in August on the outskirts of Rio is that of Jandira dos Santos Cruz, 27, who was last seen with employees of a clinic where she had sought an illegal abortion.
Her limbs and her teeth were removed in an attempt to cloak her identity, apparently after she died of complications from the termination; her family waited three agonizing weeks for DNA to confirm the identity of the body.
"This is no relief," her sister Joyce dos Santos said Thursday night, while she struggled to amass the paperwork to have Ms. Cruz's body released from the city morgue. "Even if I cry there is no relief."
Police have arrested the clinic nurse, her husband, who is a police officer, and two others in connection with the crime. Three other people – including a doctor who already faced criminal charges for performing illegal abortions – are evading arrest.
Ms. dos Santos, expressed relief that it might now be possible to give her sister a proper burial, but Ms. Cruz's daughters, who are 8 and 12, continue to ask for their mother, she said.
Earlier this week another Rio woman, Elizangela Barbosa, died of complications of an abortion – an employee of the clinic where she had sought to end her pregnancy rushed her to hospital but she died shortly after arrival. Police later found veterinary medication in the clinic and have arrested two people so far in connection with her death.
She had three children, and her husband said she sought an abortion because she wanted to be working in order to be able to provide for them.
An estimated one million women terminate pregnancies in Brazil each year, even though abortion is illegal except in cases of rape or a threat to the woman's health. About 250,000 women seek treatment in hospital for complications of illegal abortions each year. But in surveys, 80 per cent of people say they believe the practice should continue to be criminalized.