Rui Pedro Teixeira Mendonça
Rui Pedro Teixeira Mendonça
|Disappeared||March 14, 1998 (aged 11)|
|Status||Missing for 21 years, 1 month and 20 days|
|Known for||Missing person|
|Height||4 ft 11 in (150 cm)|
|Weight||99 lb (45 kg)|
Rui Pedro Teixeira Mendonça (born 28 January 1987) is a Portuguese child who went missing on 4 March 1998 in Lousada, Portugal. Rui Pedro was 11 years old and riding his bicycle outside near his home when he disappeared. His whereabouts remain unknown.
Last known activities
On 4 March 1998, around 14:00, Rui Pedro took his bicycle and cycled to his mother's workplace, located near the family home. He had asked his mother for permission to spend the afternoon riding in a car "with his friend Afonso" (Afonso Dias), a 22-year-old lorry driver. Rui Pedro's mother denied the request, and told him to go play in an abandoned lot outside her office.
Rui Pedro's tutor called his parents because the child had not turned up for his 17:00 lesson, and they quickly initiated a search for him. Because Rui Pedro had told his mother that he was planning to meet up with his friend Afonso, the police questioned the latter. Afonso Dias was in an emotional state while being questioned, and simply replied that he did not know the boy's whereabouts, but that the police "should close the borders". Rui Pedro's cousin, Andre, recounted to the police that he, Rui Pedro and Afonso had had a conversation where Afonso had invited them to go meet up with a prostitute. Andre said he had not joined Rui Pedro and Afonso that afternoon because his mother would not let him leave the house.
The investigation into the child's disappearance slowed down due to the lack of credible leads. Nevertheless, the case had sparked public interest to a degree that sightings of Rui Pedro were numerous over the years since his disappearance. The prostitute Alcina Dias confirmed that Afonso Dias had taken Rui Pedro to see her on the day he disappeared. Afonso Dias allegedly drove up to see her in his car and asked her if she was working. When she assented, he offered to pay her to have sex with Rui Pedro. Alcina Dias said that Rui Pedro was extremely nervous and crying by the time he exited the vehicle, reportedly saying that Afonso had forced him to meet her. Alcina Dias added that she tried to calm the boy down and asked him if his mother knew he was there, to which the boy replied no. Rui Pedro then allegedly drove off in Afonso Dias' vehicle. Alcina Dias allegedly tried to give her deposition to the authorities, but could never identify Afonso Dias by name. In 2011, she finally identified him in a court of law.
In April 1998, the political commentator Nuno Rogeiro traveled to Disneyland Paris with his family. During the trip, the Rogeiro family snapped several photographs whilst on a ride; one of these photos depicts a boy sitting behind the family who reportedly looks remarkably like Rui Pedro. Sat beside the boy is a man in his 40s wearing a red jacket. The Portuguese police did confiscate the photographs for further analysis, but no further progress was made regarding this sighting.
On 1 September 1998, 13 police forces busted an international child pornography ring known as the Wonderland Club. The operative was code-named Operation Cathedral and resulted in the confiscation of 750,000 images and videos depicting 1,263 different children. Rui Pedro was among the few children (16 only) that could be identified. However, his whereabouts remain unknown. Police suspect that he was murdered by his abductors after being abused on camera for other members of the paedophile ring.
Prison sentence for Afonso Dias
Dias was acquitted in the first trial in 2012 due to a lack of evidence, but was subsequently convicted in a new trial in 2014 to three years in jail for corruption of a minor, as a result of trying to make Rui Pedro have sex, but not for his abduction or any other charge related to the disappearance itself. Following an appeal by Rui Pedro's family. Despite Dias's appeal, this second ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court of Portugal. On 3 October 2014, Afonso Dias was sentenced to three years in prison. On 18 March 2015, Afonso Dias was taken to prison by his lawyer, after the warrant for his detention was issued by the police. He was released in March 2017, having served two thirds of his sentence. Dias maintains his innocence in the matter.
- "Quanto tempo mais O RUI PEDRO TEIXEIRA DE MENDONÇA vai esperar para ser encontrado?". peticaopublica.com.
- "Conteúdo Com Barra Lateral". policiajudiciaria.pt.
- Lars Ulrich (22 June 2007). "Junho 2007 - RUI PEDRO TEIXEIRA MENDONÇA DESAPARECIDO" [RUI PEDRO TEIXEIRA MENDONÇA MISSING]. sapo.pt. Archived from the original on 27 April 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
- "desapareceu" [DISAPPEARED]. sapo.pt. Archived from the original on 11 May 2007.
- "Man sentenced to jail for kidnapping missing Rui Pedro". 8 March 2013.
- "Prostituta confirma encontro com Rui Pedro" [Prostitute confirms meeting with Rui Pedro]. TSF. p. 2.
- "Prostituta confirma encontro com Rui Pedro" [Prostitute confirms meeting with Rui Pedro]. TSF. p. 3.
- "Prostituta confirma encontro com Rui Pedro" [Prostitute confirms meeting with Rui Pedro]. TSF. p. 1.
- "Caso Rui Pedro: Filha de Nuno Rogeiro é advogada da família" [Case of Rui Pedro: Nuno Rogeiro's daughter is a family lawyer]. Caras. Archived from the original on 18 April 2015.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- O'Neill, Sean (2 August 2001). "Internet child sex perverts escape justice" – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
- O'Neill, Sean (14 February 2001). "Girl, 8, raped to order on the internet" – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
- Notícias Ao Minuto (4 March 2014). "Noticias ao Minuto - Mãe de Rui Pedro escreve carta a filho desaparecido há 16 anos". Notícias ao Minuto.
- "Filomena Teixeira: "O Rui Pedro não foi esquecido" - Portugal - Correio da Manhã". xl.pt.
- "Expresso | Caso Rui Pedro. Afonso Dias entregou-se "nervoso e em baixo"". Jornal Expresso.
- "Confirmada prisão para Afonso Dias no caso Rui Pedro - Portugal - DN". DN. Archived from the original on 27 April 2015.
- "Caso Rui Pedro: Afonso Dias libertado". www.jn.pt.
- "Rui Pedro desapareceu há 20 anos. O único condenado reafirma a sua inocência". PÚBLICO.