Page last updated at 18:59 GMT, Thursday, 17 December 2009

Brazil needle boy airlifted for emergency surgery


Some of the needles may have to stay there for good

A Brazilian toddler found with 42 sewing needles inside him has been airlifted for emergency surgery.

Doctors have rushed him to a specialist cardiac unit in Salvador after discovering two needles in the left ventricle of his heart.

Police earlier said his stepfather had confessed to sticking the needles into the two-year-old boy.

Roberto Carlos Magalhaes told them his mistress had told him to ritually kill the child to take revenge on his wife.

Doctors plan to extract the most dangerous of the needles - but removing them all will be too risky.

"We discovered that there seem to be two needles in the left ventricle," said paediatric surgeon Fabio Contelle.

"This makes surgery a little more complicated... that's why we opted to transfer the boy to a specialised centre," he said.

The toddler was taken to hospital in the north-eastern Bahia state by his mother, complaining of stomach pains and vomiting.

X-rays showed scores of sewing needles inside his neck, torso and legs.

'Revenge attack'

Police said Mr Magalhaes had broken down and confessed after being arrested.

"He did that for revenge, to get back at his wife," the police chief in the town of Ibotirama, Helder Fernandes Santana, was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

"His mistress told him to kill the child through a macabre ritual," Mr Santana said.

The boy's mother told police she suspected the child had been the victim of a black magic ritual after she found suspicious objects in the home she shared with Mr Magalhaes - her husband of six months - and her six children.

Doctors said there were no signs of wounds on the boy.

Reports say the boy is in a serious condition, but that he has shown some improvement since being admitted to hospital on Sunday.

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