A woman who was laid to rest was believed to be still alive after placing her in a coffin, nailing it shut and burying her in a stone tomb.
It goes without saying that being buried alive must be a harrowing experience, so one can’t even imagine comprehend what Rosangela Almeida dos Santos, who was aged 37 when her family and friends buried her body, must have been going through.
Her coffin had to be exhumed after screams were heard coming out from the grave she was laid to rest in. When they unearthed her coffin they found Santos’ lifeless body had blood and injuries to her wrist which were indications that she was trying to get out.
Her wooden casket was nailed tightly shut and placed in a stone tomb, when her family dug it out on Friday they found her body was still warm with fresh injuries. A unidentified person recorded the commotion as people at the Senhora Santana cemetery in Riachao das Neves, northeast Brazil, desperately tried to remove the lid of her casket
Some can be heard asking to call the hospital as they commented on how warm her body was.
Santos was buried the day after she was officially pronounced dead at the hospital, which was on the 28th January, this means that she was buried alive for at least 11 days. However, people living near the cemetery could hear screams and banging coming from her tomb, so they alerted her family on 9th February.
Her body was said to be still warm and in a different position from what it was originally in when they placed her in the coffin. Furthermore, cotton wool which had been placed into her nostrils and ear holes had come out and there were clear signs of injuries to her hands and forehead which suggests she was trying to fight her way out.
There were also scratch and blood marks inside her coffin and the lid had been pushed upwards.
Ms Santos was admitted to the Hospital do Oeste in Barreiras for a week, she was rushed there by her family after she came down with severe fatigue. According to her death certificate, she died from ‘septic shock’ after suffering two cardiac arrests. Santos, who was married but had no children, took anticonvulsant medicines as a way to combat spells of fainting which she had since she was seven-years-old.
One of the residents who lived near the cemetery where she was buried, Housewife Natalina Silva, spoke to Brazilian news network G1, claiming that she had heard muffled screams during the night coming from her grave. She said:
I thought the kids who play around the cemetery were playing a joke on me. Then I heard her groan twice, and after those two groans she stopped
Another local who lived near the graveyard, Ana Francisco Dias, told Brazil’s Globo TV station:
There were than 500 people who came here and packed the cemetery, everybody went to see, lots of people touched her foot and everybody saw that she was still warm. She wasn’t cold.
Santos’ family are already looking for answers as to what happened, they are convinced the doctor’s at the hospital made a severe error in declaring her death and have taken the matter to the police.
Her sister, Isamara Almeida, said:
Lead investigator, Police chief Arnaldo Monte, released a statement saying:
We have today started to take statements from family members and other people. If need be we will exhume Ms Santos’ body again so we can get to the bottom of what really happened.
A spokesperson for the Hospital de Oeste, where Santos was declared dead, released their own statement promising to ‘provide all necessary information requested’ to help with the investigation.