Ten years later: Brazilian man’s disappearance in Peru remains a mystery

Ten years later: Brazilian man’s disappearance in Peru remains a mystery

8 hours ago

Arthur Paschoali

credit, personnel file


Artur Paschoali disappeared while backpacking in Peru in 2012

For a decade, Artur Paschoali’s family has lived in nostalgia and uncertainty about what happened to him.

The young man, who lived in Brasilia and dreamed of traveling the world, disappeared in Peru in December 2012 while backpacking around the country. The case was never solved.

Artur’s mother, architect Susana Paschoali, 62, says she’s still waiting for any response on the case.

“I never gave up that hope (of finding out what happened to Artur). It’s a very small possibility, but I would welcome it,” he told BBC News Brasil.

During those 10 years, family members received a variety of conflicting information about Artur.

The young man’s parents conducted their own investigation and spent more than R$200,000 on the searches a small part of it through a fundraiser but nothing was enough to solve the case.

Susana believes her son has died. “From the first moment I thought they killed Artur.”

“I don’t think I’m better or worse than anyone else, so if that’s how it happened, that’s how it should be,” says the architect. “If it should have been different, it would have been and we would already have an answer because many people disappear and are found or their bodies are found immediately.”

Artur’s father, sales representative Wanderlan Vieira he and Susana live separately believes that he could still find his son alive.

“It’s complicated because it’s all in the realm of guesswork. But I think that after all this time, Artur has become a victim of a cartel in the Peru region and may still be alive,” he says.

credit, personnel file


Susana and her son: She still lives hoping to find out what happened to the young man

the backpack

Artur was 19 years old when he traveled to Peru with a group of Brazilians at the end of September 2012. The trip was an opportunity for the arts enthusiast to learn more about the local culture.

At first, the young man spent only a few weeks in the Cuzco region, but was enchanted by the place and extended the time. He told his parents at the time that he wanted to stay in the town for about six months and then planned to go to Bolivia before returning to Brazil.

During the trip, he communicated with his parents only through Facebook messages.

According to Susana, the young man refused to receive financial help from the family. As a result, she worked as a receptionist in hostels and in a bar to have room and board.

credit, personnel file


Wanderlan, Susana and their four children: Artur appears in the middle of the picture

In early December 2012 he moved from Cuzco to Aguas Calientes, also near Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas.

It was during this period that the family drama began. Days after arriving in Aguas Calientes, the young man sent a message that raised concerns. According to Susana, he said he drank too much and had problems with his boss.

Concerned, the mother asked Artur to keep her informed. About a week later, according to Susana, he sent a message that he was in the Santa Teresa district of Peru. It was his last contact.

Disappearances and Investigations

After Christmas 2012, family members sounded the alarm because Artur had not sent a message.

The family contacted a hostel in Santa Tereza and discovered that a Brazilian tourist had disappeared, but they received no confirmation as to whether it was Artur.

Desperately, Susana and Wanderlan looked for Brazilian or Peruvian authorities who could help them. But according to them, they received no support at the time. They bought plane tickets for December 31 and flew to Peru. In Lima, they discovered the missing young man was Artur.

From then on, the search for the young man began, which brought together Peruvian and Brazilian authorities and had a great deal of media coverage.

In addition to the official investigation, Susana and Wanderlan began investigating the case on their own. They discovered that the son disappeared in a region devastated by drug trafficking and where the population was very afraid to share information.

Artur’s parents stayed in Peru for four months shortly after the young man’s disappearance. They said they even received death threats, but they didn’t give up the search. The information they received was shared anonymously by people living in the area.

credit, personnel file


The young man was living in Brasilia when he decided to travel to Peru with a group of Brazilians

At the urging of the Brazilian’s parents, the Peruvian police began investigating the case as a crime and not just a disappearance.

One of the suspicions at the time, based on information provided by the young man’s parents, was that the owner of the bar where he worked before his disappearance might have been involved.

A witness reported hearing screams from Artur, who attacked in an apartment owned by the bar’s owner and asked not to be hit. Traces of blood were found at the crime scene. However, according to police investigations, an analysis revealed that the blood did not belong to the young man.

Although some suspects were identified, no one was arrested at the time because authorities claimed there was not even evidence Arthur had been killed.

For the young man’s parents, a lot of evidence was destroyed or neglected during the investigation, which hampered the investigation of the case. According to the family, the authorities were afraid to investigate the disappearance because it is a region with intensive human trafficking.

Susana returned to Peru once after her first trip to the country, while Wanderlan has returned several times, most recently in 2016 to investigate his son’s disappearance.

To Arthur’s father, the son may have been enslaved and may still be alive. “On one of my trips to Peru, a witness told me that he had seen Artur at a treatment site with herbs from the Amazon. That was some time after his disappearance. He would be enslaved there in a small room in the jungle. .”

According to the young man’s father, Artur was then forced to work as a translator because he knew English and Spanish. However, this information has never been confirmed.

“That was the last piece of information I believed to be reliable (about the possibility that he was enslaved). Since then, I haven’t received any information about my son that I believe to be reliable, only rumours,” says Wanderlan.

credit, personnel file


Artur loved to travel and wanted to see different places in the world.

Ten years without answers

A decade later, while living with the knowledge that her son has died, Susana is still waiting to find out what happened to him. One of the possibilities she believes is that over the years, a witness or even someone who may have been involved in the disappearance will be looking for her and will provide details that could lead to the outcome of the case.

If her son really was murdered, she says she has already forgiven whoever was responsible.

“About five years ago I felt really bad about all of this and decided to forgive. I got in the shower and kept asking God to lighten that weight. I didn’t want the person to be arrested anymore, I didn’t want anything to happen to that person and that made my life lighter,” says the architect.

“Sooner or later, I think that person will get some feedback on what they did. What matters is my son, who I believe has died, I no longer care about this situation (punishment for someone who may have committed a crime against young people),” adds the architect.

Wanderlan, on the other hand, believes that one day he will have the funds to return to Peru and seek answers about his son again. “I don’t think I’ll get new information out of the blue like that. But I do believe that one day I will be able to unofficially resume the investigation.”

“As long as I live, I will work to solve this mystery to find out what really happened,” he adds.

In a statement to BBC News Brasil, Itamaraty does not provide details on Artur’s case, explaining that it does not provide detailed data on “individual cases of consular assistance to Brazilian citizens”.

“Such information may only be shared with the permission of those involved or their immediate family members,” Itamaraty’s communiqué on the report said.

In 2020, Itamaraty told BBC News Brasil that investigations into the case had been on hold since 2017. Artur’s family members confirmed to the report that no further investigation into the disappearance has been conducted since then.