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

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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.