RIO – He was 7 years old when he left the cycle in the backyard, opened the iron gate of the house where he lived, in Jardim Gramacho, one of the most miserable areas of Rio, and won the world. After seven months of searching, already pregnant with her sixth child, Marlene Flauzino, she found Carlos Eduardo Pires Magalhães wandering around Praia de Botafogo with a group of children of the same age, all with broken glass in their hands. She gave the boy a hug and took him home. A week later, he disappeared again. It was the beginning of a series of comings and goings that ended with the street gaining a wide advantage. It was on the sidewalks that Carlos Eduardo ended up living most of his 39 years. And it was on the cold floor of a bakery in Ipanema that he ended up dead, last Friday, after asking, in vain, for help.
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Carlos Eduardo’s life, invisible to passers-by, to the point that people continue to have breakfast in front of his body covered in black plastic, was not always so transparent. Located this Tuesday by GLOBO, Marlene says that her son was sponsored by Botafogo firefighters when he was about 10 years old. He did the Botinho project and attended a school:
“He learned to swim.” The firemen liked him so much that they got Carlinhos a uniform. Even private school in Copacabana paid. I don’t remember the name, but it was Our Lady of something. He studied up to the 5th grade. Carlinhos told me that he was the only black man. At that time, his house was the barracks.
It is not known how Carlinhos’ life really went wrong, but his story, like that of so many homeless people, is also that of fighting drugs.
– One day, when he was older, he found his way home and I scolded him for the lack of news. I pressed him in the corner and asked him if he was using drugs. He told me it was only marijuana, but I knew there were others, like crack. I showered, splashed deodorant on him, and gave him clean clothes. It was my brand new Carlinhos, until he left again for his world – says Marlene, emotionally. – He said to me: ‘mom, I like freedom like birds’.
‘I wanted to protect you’
Based on sedatives since she learned of her son’s death, which would have been due to advanced tuberculosis, Marlene says that he did not deserve the indifference he had in his last moments:
“He wasn’t just another one.” He had a family. I always went after my son, but he said he wanted to see the world. I wanted to protect you inside the house. Perhaps this was my mistake.
With fragile health, after four heart attacks and three strokes (stroke), Marlene says she last spoke to Carlinhos about a month ago:
“I always asked if he was okay, and he said he was fine.” He said it was for me to worry about myself, to take care of myself.
Carlinhos never said he was sick. The family now struggles to free his body and reconstruct some of its history. Marlene knows bits and pieces: she says he loved Copacabana, remembers that he had a daughter on the streets, Maria Eduarda, and that he was proud to have participated in a film as an extra. These are memories she will keep with the only two photos of her son left over after a flood that hit the family home – Carlinhos as a baby and at his christening.
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Carlinhos’ mother lives in a humble house with a bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom, covered with asbestos tiles, in a poor neighborhood of São Gonçalo. One of the daughters lives in a neighboring house to assist him.
– The last time we talked was a month ago. I always asked if he was fine and he said he was fine. He said it was for me to worry about myself, to take care of myself. If I had known about his illness, I would have brought him here to take care of him. I would mobilize my children, sons-in-law and grandchildren to pick him up. I was standing at the stove making the rice when the news came. My daughter sat me on the couch and gave me water. I soon realized that something had happened to my Carlinhos _ she says with watery eyes.
Carlinhos never said he was sick. The family now struggles to free its body and reconstruct a little of its history. Marlene knows bits and pieces: she says he loved Copacabana, remembers that he had a daughter on the streets, Maria Eduarda, and that he was proud to have participated in a film as an extra. These are memories she will keep with the only two photos of her son left over after a flood that hit the family home – Carlinhos as a baby and at his christening.
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Carlos Eduardo’s youngest sister, Dandara Sampaio, has faced a real via-crucis for body release. According to her, as soon as the family learned of the death, she tried to find him at the bakery, at IML, until arriving at the Municipal Hospital Miguel Couto, in Leblon. In the latter, he said that an employee refused to give information.
– We didn’t know what to do. I still haven’t been able to see my brother. I was desperate. The employee said that ‘I wanted to exceed the limits that fit me’. I said to her, ‘This is not it. I just want to release my brother’s body and bury it! ‘ Then I went to the Family Clinic, nearby, to see if I could get any documents from him. They had nothing, but the social worker explained to me how his tuberculosis treatment was. It was as if we were collecting the pieces of his life. We didn’t want him to be buried as destitute – says Dandara, not understanding why Carlos Eduardo’s body did not go to IML, since he was already dead.
The director of the Miguel Couto Hospital, Cristiano Chame, explained that a new resolution allows the Fire Department to take a person’s body, in cases other than violence, to hospitals. There, police officers collect fingerprints to search the Detran database to identify him. It is the police or the hospital itself that makes contact with the victims’ relatives. In the case of Carlos Eduardo, Samu took him to the hospital and, as the corpse collection guide was still unidentified, the service itself would have to make an addition and change the status to identified. Another possibility would be through a court order.
– We regret the pain of the loss of that family. But we are stuck with the legislation. Anyway, we contacted Samu who appointed a doctor to make the change and identify him to release the body to the family as soon as possible – explained Chame.
For Marlene, all that remains is to bury her son:
– I love all my seven children, 38 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, but Carlinhos was very special. He kissed my hand! What hurts me is seeing that he could have had care. He arrived at the bakery feeling sick. It was a huge neglect. Soulless people. You don’t even do that with an animal.
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