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Posted Thursday, December 17, 2009
Brazilian two-year-old boy's body, pierced with 42 needles 
By Agence France-Presse
RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - A Brazilian boy whose body was pierced with 42 needles during "black magic" rituals was airlifted for emergency surgery Thursday, after doctors said two of the slivers had pierced his heart.
brazilian boy
TV grab taken on December 15 showing an X-ray of the stomach of a two-year-old boy at the intensive care unit of the Barreiras hospital in the Brazilian state of Bahia. A Brazilian boy whose body was pierced with 42 needles during "black magic" rituals was airlifted for emergency surgery Thursday, after doctors said two of the slivers had pierced his heart.(AFP/HO)
Medics rushed the two-year-old to a specialist cardiac surgery unit in Salvador, Brazil, after X-rays showed two of the needles lodged in the toddler's left ventricle.

A careful examination counted 42 of the metallic objects -- some measuring up to five centimeters (two inches) in length -- dispersed throughout the child's body including the neck, torso and legs.

Doctors said they planned to remove the most dangerous of the needles, but others would have to remain inside the body because removing them was too risky.

"We discovered that there seem to be two needles in the left ventricle, in the boy's heart," a pediatric surgeon at the local hospital, Fabio Contelle, told Brazilian television.

"This makes surgery a little more complicated, given that we don't have cardiac surgeons here. That's why we opted to transfer the boy to a specialized center in Salvador," he said.

A spokeswoman for the local hospital told AFP the boy had been flown out of there early Thursday.

The boy's stepfather, Roberto Carlos Magalhaes, a 30-year-old laborer, was arrested Wednesday and confessed to inserting the needles one-by-one during black magic rites, police told AFP.

"He did that for revenge, to get back at his wife. His mistress told him to kill the child through a macabre ritual," the police chief in the boy's village of Ibotirama, Helder Fernandes Santana, said.

The village lies in Brazil's tropical northeast, a region heavily populated by the decedents of African slaves. It is known throughout Brazil as a center of religions and rites similar to voodoo practiced in Haiti and West Africa.

The Estado news agency reported that the boy was taken each weekend to the home of a woman named Angelina, who ordered his stepfather to insert the sewing needles.

When one of them perforated a lung, causing the child to vomit, he complained of stomach pains. That prompted his mother, Maria Souza Santos, a 38-year-old maid, to take him to a local hospital.

She said she did not how the needles got into son, but told reporters she found objects used for black magic ceremonies in her house, including a bottle of cachaca -- a common Brazilian rum made from sugar cane.

The boy, who was not named because of his young age, was conscious and said to be in a "serious" condition.
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