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Joao Rodrigo Silva Santos, former Brazilian soccer player, decapitated, drug traffickers suspected

Following mass demonstrations against the government last month, there is a chance Pope Francis' identification with the poor could inflame matters. The pontiff is scheduled to tour one of Rio de Janeiro's favelas, or slums, where there is a surplus of crime and deficit of hope. Dean Reynolds reports.
After protests, pope has sensitive task in Brazil
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
CBS

(CBS/AP) RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazilian police say assailants decapitated a former soccer player - the husband of a police officer - in apparent retaliation for her efforts to take down drug gangs.

Police tell reporters that Joao Rodrigo Silva Santos,35, was kidnapped Monday night as he left his food shop in the district of Realengo, in Rio de Janeiro. They said the victim's head was left in a backpack in front of his house.

Neighbors reportedly saw the victim being attacked by a group of men that forced him into a car before he went missing.

Police reportedly said family members confirmed that other body parts found near a city river were also those of Silva Santos.

The victim's wife, according to The Latin Times, works in a police unit that has exposed and dismantled several drug gangs in underprivileged areas of the cities known as "favelas."

Silva Santos reportedly retired from a successful soccer career two years ago, having played for various teams in Rio, Sweden and Honduras.

  • Iris Carreras

    Iris Carreras covers crime for CBSNews.com