It’s a story that’s been done to death.
Way back in 1847, the anonymous English penny dreadful The String of Pearls introduced the world to Sweeney Todd, the fictional haircutter who went for blood and turned his murder victims into meat pies with the help of his female companion. The demon barber of Fleet Street’s story has since been retold countless times, perhaps most memorably in Stephen Sondheim’s musical and in the Tim Burton movie starring Johnny Depp.
Now a Brazilian trio have allegedly reinvented the story with a Latin, polyamorous twist. They didn’t just replace British pasties with empanadas. Jorge Beltrao Negromonte, his wife, Isabel Cristina Pires, and his mistress, Bruna Cristina Oliviera, produced a book and a movie about ritual killings—and they’re accused of actually murdering at least two women and serving dumplings filled with their flesh to their neighbors as part of a cult ritual inspired by Beltrao Negromonte’s schizophrenic fantasies.
A Credit Card Bill Prompts a Confession
Jorge Beltrao Negromonte da Silveira, 51, Isabel Cristina Pires da Silveira, 50, and Bruna Cristina Oliviera da Silva, 25, seem to have lured women to their small house at the edge of Garanhuns, in Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, by offering a high-paying nanny job.
Giselly Helena da Silva, 31, disappeared on February 25, 2012. Alexandra Falcão da Silva disappeared on March 12. Both women had been spotted with Negromonte and his companions near the home the three shared in the Jardim Petropolis neighborhood. The missing-persons investigations didn’t zero in on the threesome until one of the missing women’s mother let police know that someone kept using her daughter’s credit card.
Once that tip came in, things progressed quickly. On April 11, 2012, police arrested the threesome. Inspector Wesley Fernandes has reported that Negromonte immediately confessed. Negromonte allegedly admitted to killing the women as part of a unique religious ritual, dismembering them, eating pieces of their flesh, and burying the remains. He insisted all this could not be properly described as murder or torture but that these acts were part of a “purification” that he’d been commanded to do in order to purge the world of “bad” women. Negromonte said that his two Cristinas helped lure the victims in; they have denied involvement in the murders.
But, Isabel Cristina Pires reportedly told police that after consuming some of the victims’ raw flesh, the group boiled parts of the remains and used that to make human-flesh-filled empanadas that they sold to local bars and restaurants.
When police followed up on the victim’s mother’s credit card tip, a 5-year-old girl who lived in the house helped them find the bodies of Giselly Helena and Alexandra Falcão in the backyard. Investigators suspect that the child may be the daughter of Negromonte and Jessica Camila da Silva Pereira, a 17-year-old who disappeared outside nearby Recife in 2008 and whom investigators suspect may be another victim of the deadly ménage- à-trois.