The police action that took place yesterday afternoon at the mansion where Margarida Bonetti lives in Higienópolis, an upscale area of São Paulo, even had a brief appearance by the “woman from the abandoned house”, the subject of a podcast by Folha de S. Paulo produced by Chico Felitti.
With a black cap covering her head, Margarida walked along the porch and went to the window that had been broken into, as she refused to open the door to allow the agents to carry out the search warrant. She pointed to the spot, where there were shards of glass with broken wood, and gestured to the officers as she spoke.
Her presence there lasted about 30 seconds. But it was as if Margarida Bonetti, the woman accused of having kept a maid in conditions similar to slavery between the late 1970s and early 2000s in the US, had been there since the beginning of the police operation, which is part of the investigation. which investigates whether she suffers from a psychiatric disorder and whether she is a victim of incapable abandonment.
It was around 3:30 pm when Civil Police vehicles arrived at the scene to the sound of a helicopter that flew over that prime area of the capital of São Paulo, little used to the ostensible presence of security forces.
Then, the quiet street of Higienópolis began to be occupied by TV reporters, who crossed the street to position themselves in front of the mansion.
After talking to the police, a lady who identified herself as the family’s lawyer spoke quickly on her cell phone. As she hung up, she told one of the agents, “She asked for about 15 minutes to get ready.”
It was confirmation that Margarida Bonetti was back at the mansion after leaving the property for fear of saying that a shot had hit one of the windows, according to a statement given to the Civil Police on June 11 by Rosa Vicente de Azevedo, her sister who introduced herself as responsible for Margarida’s livelihood, including food, clothing, shoes, money for shopping and transportation.
‘Woman from the abandoned house’: police execute warrant and enter mansion in SP
‘The house is a fortress’
But the period promised to allow the entry of agents was not fulfilled. Instead, Margarida changed her mind and began to challenge the police on the grounds that they would need to break down the door, saying that “the house was a fortress”, according to the version told by the agents at the scene.
As she chatted with a group of officers through the back window, other agents took advantage of the moment of distraction to force their way in through the front. A locksmith tried to open the door but failed.
A ‘aisle’ in the midst of garbage and stench
Then the police went to plan B and broke down the window, in front of the “vibration” of a crowd that followed the scene behind a cordon. However, there was a wooden piece of furniture preventing access, which had to be damaged so that the police could enter.
After two police officers entered through the window, the door was opened so that the rest of the agents could enter the property to check the conditions of the place. So, it was possible to hear Margarida’s voice screaming, identified by those who follow the podcast.
“She stood in front of me saying ‘don’t come in, don’t come in, it’s my privacy’. Then, she realized that she couldn’t help it anymore”, said delegate Vanesa Guimarães.
The police officers left there reporting the stench of spoiled food and the accumulation of garbage on the first floor. “She opens a passageway between the garbage and the accumulation, and the whole house has dirt and all kinds of accumulation of garbage and dirt”, reported the delegate.
“You can’t walk inside, the condition is totally unhealthy. The house… You have no place on the floor to put your feet,” added Luiz Carlos Zapparolli, chief investigator at the center’s 1st Sectional Precinct.
Malnourished dog rescue and aggression report
An apparently malnourished dog was taken from there. “This one we found in a totally scared condition, trembling, it’s hard to even catch, the smell is terrible,” Zapparolli said of the dog.
An assistant to state deputy Bruno Lima (PP-SP), who participated in the rescue of the dog, said he was assaulted by Margarida in the midst of police action this afternoon.
According to public servant Bruno Gallo, Margarida would have given a “tie”, a strangulation blow, after he removed the animal from her hands. Then she said she had given the dog to Luisa Mell.
“The environment was unhealthy, and the animal needs veterinary assistance. The delegate asked her to deliver the dog. But she didn’t want to. She said: ‘They’ve already taken two [cães], they won’t take the third one’. When I went to get it, she attacked me with a tie,” said the server as he left the property, his voice breathless.
The story was confirmed by Luisa Mell herself, who came out afterwards. “[Antes] she took the dog from my hands and put it inside her shirt. Then, I said: ‘guys, can someone do something? She’s choking the dog’. Then she hit one of the police officers. I just didn’t get hit either because I ran out of there,” she said.
Luisa Mell had already rescued two other dogs from Margarida in an action held at the house earlier this month.
O UOL tried to talk to the lawyer representing Margarida and who accompanied the execution of the warrant. But she left the venue through the back and did not speak to the press.
According to delegate Marcelo Palhares, the police also checks if there are conditions for housing the property. “In the investigation, we found electricity on, water and electricity working, with bills being paid. So it is assumed environment (for housing)”.
Precarious situation and ‘evidence of delirium’
The investigation was opened after the Civil Police received calls from the neighborhood with reports that “a person with mental health problems resided in the property, and who would be in need of help”.
The report spoke with health professionals who emphasize that they had no contact with Margarida — therefore, they only made an analysis based on reports they heard.
Psychoanalyst Christian Dunker sees signs of mental disorders in actions attributed to her. “There are indications of a delusional process. This can happen in several mental disorders”, he evaluates. He cites her isolation at the mansion as a form of “protection” in the midst of a delusion where she thinks she is being stalked.