The death of 36-year-old architect and artist Luiz Felipe Bernardes dos Santos, known as Macalé, may never be resolved.
His body was found at dawn on May 30, in the span of the Sumaré viaduct, in the west side of São Paulo. In the police report, the Civil Police registered his death as a suicide, a thesis refuted by family and friends.
People linked to the investigation, which runs in secrecy in the 23rd Police District, in Perdizes, also in the west zone of the capital of São Paulo, informed the Brazil in fact that investigators consider the case “virtually lost” for two reasons.
The first, the loss of images from cameras of homes and businesses near the place where Macalé’s body was found.
Understand: PM affirm that black architect threw himself as a bridge in SP; but friends want death investigation
Security camera images can be stored for up to 30 days before the system automatically deletes them. With the delay by the police in requesting the files, the records had already been erased and there are no images of Macalé arriving at the viaduct. Therefore, it is not possible to know if he threw himself or if he was thrown off the bridge.
In addition, the cameras of the Engineering and Traffic Company (CET), which monitor the region of the Sumaré viaduct, are not working.
Without the images, investigators hoped to locate the cyclist who called the Military Police to report that a body had fallen off the bridge, but they were unable to identify the possible witness.
Macalé’s cell phone was checked by the police, but it also did not bring new elements to the investigation. The device was returned to the family. João Machado, a friend of the architect, criticized the police investigation and said that the suicide thesis remains unaccepted among people in the architect’s circle of friends.
“We, as Macalé’s friends and people around him, knew that he didn’t have the psychological traits to commit suicide. We are devastated by this information, because they generate a lot of frustration for us, regarding the delay of things. If the cameras were requested too late, it’s because there was a delay”, he commented.
Also according to Machado, there was time for the police to act to acquire the images. “From the first moment, this death was placed as suspect and not likely to be a suicide. This investigation was very slow and this is very worrying. We are completely desolate and not knowing what to say and do. It’s a huge injustice, malpractice and lack of security.”
In a statement, the Public Security Secretariat of the State of São Paulo (SSP-SP) informed the Brazil in fact that “the acts of the judicial police are all being adopted, in the exact terms of the current legislation.”
The body of architect and artist Luiz Felipe Bernardes dos Santos, known as Macalé, was found at 3:20 am on Sunday, May 30, in the span of the Sumaré Viaduct.
For the Military Police, it is suicide and this is the cause of death pointed out in the police report. However, the thesis is refuted by friends and by the young man’s partner.
Patricia Brasil, his partner, told the Brazil in fact, at the time, that Macalé was in a good moment in his life and that he had no reason to kill himself.
“Our last conversations on Whatsapp all show him excited and happy, showing me pictures of the places he visited, sending me pictures. At no point did he look sad, like he was going to do something to himself.”
The educator Sócrates Magno was with Macalé the night before the architect’s death. “We talked all week, I was invited to a humor project and I wanted him to help me. On Saturday we were together at the bar, he was fine. He never had suicidal thoughts and there was no reason for that”, explains the friend.
night at the bar
Gathering information from people who spent the last hours with Macalé, it is possible to know that on Saturday (29), he went out to meet friends at a bar in the Consolação region, around 7:30 pm.
At the same time, there was a demonstration against President Jair Bolsonaro (no party), which interrupted traffic in the region of Consolação and Avenida Paulista and made the architect get off the bus to walk to the establishment, where his friends were already.
After 9 pm, the bar closed, in compliance with the decree in force in São Paulo and which determined the opening hours of establishments during the pandemic period. Socrates left for his home. It was then, that Macalé went to another bar, which accepted customers after hours allowed.
There, he stayed until 1:35 am, when he followed in a car, called via app, to his house, in the Água Branca neighborhood, in the west side of São Paulo. The race data show that Macalé arrived at his home at 1:53 am, according to Alexandre Santos, cousin of the architect.
Santos, who is also Macalé’s neighbor, lives in the back of the house, and had the architect’s cell phone on the day of his death.
“No Uber claims he came here. But I can’t help you at all, because we live in the back. What supposedly happened in here, we don’t know. If he really came here, if he was the one who was here. We only received the call after it happened.”
Patrícia Brasil went to bed after 1:11 am, the time of her last message exchange with Macalé, who informed her that he was already leaving the bar. At 3:57 am, the Military Police tried to contact her to report the architect’s death, but the call was not answered.
“I sent a message to Macalé early in the morning, to talk about the book I’m reading, he gave it to me. But he was already dead. Macalé’s cousin, Alexandre, was the one who called me around 12:00, saying that Macalé hadn’t come home. Then I went back to the number that called me at dawn, it was already 1 pm and the phone was for the police, they informed me of the death”, recalls Brasil.
What intrigues her companion and friends is what happens after Macalé arrives at her house. According to Alexandre Santos, his cousin, and Brasil, the backpack that the architect was using that night and dawn, was in his room, next to his mask and a bottle of water.
The objects left in the room confirm that Macalé would have passed through the house. However, his clothes were ruffled and a notebook disappeared, as well as the architect’s graduation ring.
Macalé left the house alive? If you got out alive, where were you going? Was there anyone with Macalé, after 2 am, when would he have left the house again? These questions may go unanswered.
Edition: Leandro Melito