Brazil World Cup player's mother freed after being kidnapped

The mother of the Brazilian footballer Taison, a member of the World Cup squad who plays for the Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk, was kidnapped on Monday by an armed gang but released within hours after police located their hideout.

Security camera footage showed Rosângela Freda being lured to the security gates in front of her home in Pelotas, southern Brazil, by a man delivering flowers and bundled into a car.

“She is well. Apart from the fright, there is no injury,” said detective Rafael Lopes, adding that the gang did not have time to issue a ransom demand.

Freda was kidnapped in the neighbourhood of Navegantes and taken to a house in Monte Bonito on the outskirts of the city, Lopes said. Police had found the gang’s hideout after officers spotted the getaway vehicle, a white Fiat Siena, from a description broadcast on police radio.

“We closed the circle around the place where the car had been seen,” he said. “In less than an hour we found where she was being held and released the victim.”

When police approached the house, one man escaped and four were arrested. The man who escaped was recognised by one officer as a known local criminal with a record for homicide and drug crimes. Two others also had criminal records. Police found a .44 revolver, a shotgun, cocaine and marijuana in the house.

Freda was found with her hands tied behind her back in a garage at the back of the property.

Lopes said kidnap was not a common crime in the state. “I have been in the police here for eight years and it has never happened,” he said.

Paulo Storani, a former police captain and security specialist in Rio, said kidnapping had largely died out in major Brazilian cities because of improved police methods and security cameras, though “lightning kidnaps”, where crooks lead a victim to a cashpoint, still occurred.

Taison in training before Brazil’s match against Belgium in Russia on 6 July

Taison in training before Brazil’s match against Belgium in Russia on 6 July. Photograph: Sergei Bobylev/Tass

In a television interview last year, Taison cried as he paid tribute to the sacrifices his mother, a maid, and father, a labourer, had made for him. He began his career at Progresso, a Pelotas amateur team. In June, he shared on Instagram a photograph from Sochi of him hugging his mother.

“I’ll do anything to see a smile on your face, Mum, because you always did everything for my happiness,” he wrote.


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