A security guard has reportedly confessed to shooting dead 39 people during a 10-month killing spree – sparking fears he could be one of the world’s worst serial killers.
Thiago Henrique Gomes da Rocha blasted 16 women as well as homeless people and transvestites, according to police.
The 26-year-old, who was arrested on Tuesday, is alleged to have shot all his victims dead from a motorbike after shouting “robbery”, then fled the scenes without taking anything.
The victims included a 14-year-old girl killed in a park in January and two women in their mid-twenties murdered in May.
Bruna, Janaina, Lily and Ana Lydia are among the victims of alleged serial killer Victims: Bruna, Janaina, Lily and Ana Lydia were shot dead
The random killing spree sparked panic among residents in Goiania, Brazil, and led to a massive manhunt.
Police say the suspect, who lived in the Goias state capital, has also confessed to killing transvestites and several homeless people.
Officers swooped on Gomes da Rocha after discovering he was facing trial for stealing the numberplate on a motorbike at a supermarket in Goiania in January.
Days later he was was stopped by police riding a motorbike with a fake plate.
The suspected murder weapon, a .38 revolver, was seized from the home he shared with his mum during a search along with a motorbike and stolen plates.
He was being held in prison last night after being remanded in custody.
Local reports said he told police before being taken to prison that he killed his victims to alleviate feelings of anxiety.
Police chief Joao Gorski, who revealed Gomes da Rocha had confessed to the murder of 16 women, said: “I believe he is a serial killer. To start with he killed at random but towards the end he established a pattern.”
Goias state governor Marconi Perillo added: “I have received confirmation of an excellent piece of news, the identification, arrest and remand in custody of the killer responsible for the deaths of women and street people in Goiania who even confessed to his crimes.
“I never doubted the investigation would lead to the solving of these crimes that affected the tranquility and integrity of families in Goiania.
“I know this won’t fill the hole left by the deaths of loved ones but I am sure it will serve as some comfort to their families and society.”
Families and friends of the women murdered this year staged a series of demonstrations to put pressure on the police and local government.
They wore white and carried photos of the victims.
The list of the 15 most prolific modern serial killers is topped by Colombian Luis Garavito, a child murderer and rapist known as La Bestia or The Beast.
He is thought to have killed more than 400 mainly street children. His proven victim count is 138.
Pedro Rodrigues Filho, Brazil’s most prolific killer, claimed to have killed over 100 victims, 47 of them inmates. He was convicted of killing 71 people.
He killed his first two victims at the age of 14 and murdered his father and ate a piece of his heart.
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