Brayan Bremer, one of over hundreds of inmates who escaped from two prisons in western Brazil over New Year’s Eve, is taunting police with selfies apparently taken from deep within the Amazon rainforest which surfaced on Facebook throughout the week.
A Facebook account carrying Bremer’s name posted a photo of himself and another fugitive of Manaus’s Antonio Trindade prison (Ipat), where 72 prisoners escaped during a riot on Sunday morning (another 112 escaped from nearby Anisio Jobim penitentiary). The caption for the photo reads, “escaped from prison.”
Brazilian authorities have confirmed that the other man in the photo has been recaptured, along with another 40 escaped inmates, yet many remain free. The situation has left many in Manaus terrified, now fearing that violent criminals are walking their streets with police having been able to do little so far to restore order.
Police have dismissed most rumors, though this has done little to return the city back to normal. Brazilian newspaper O Globo reports that rumors of mass robberies, inmates wearing counterfeit police uniforms, and new massacres abound in the inland regional capital. Manaus was already a crime capital, and O Globo reports that at least eight homicides have occurred in the city between Wednesday and Friday alone.
Bremer appears to remain among those still on the loose. Other photos show him with a group in the Amazon rain forest eating fruit.
The BBC confirms that the account appears to be Bremer’s, a fugitive who was serving a sentence for robbery before escaping on the morning of January 1. The outlet claims his Facebook account, which had remained active throughout his incarceration, has been deleted, though it appears the same account is still live and has posted more photos since the BBC story was published. The latest photo on the account is yet another rain forest selfie, this time captioned, “Single ladies watch out!”
While multiple fan pages have surfaced for Bremer, the page posting these photos boast selfies of Bremer dating as far back as 2014, suggesting it is not a copycat account created after his story made headlines. One such selfie dating back to 2014 is captioned “Familia do Norte – FDN,” the name of one of Brazil’s most notorious drug gangs.
Local authorities in Amazonas state have blamed the FDN for organizing the massacre at Anisio Jobim (Compaj) as well as another riot in Ipat. The FDN is currently engaged in a drug trafficking war with the Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC), Brazil’s largest drug trafficking gang, which has reportedly attempted to usurp FDN territory on the other side of the country in Rio de Janeiro.
56 were killed in the Compaj riot, many beheaded and burned. In video taken by FDN members from within the prison, those holding the camera identify the severed heads of the victims as PCC members.
The PCC appears to have taken revenge for the New Year’s massacre with a mass murder of its own in a prison in Roraima state, north of Amazonas. 33 inmates, which local authorities believe to have ties to the FDN, were killed, most beheaded and some with their hearts ripped out of them, on Friday morning. Authorities now fear a new string of such incidents throughout the country, though federal Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes has refused to confirm whether the killings are part of a gang war, instead accusing local authorities of having evidence suggesting inmates at Compaj were planning a prison break and failing to prevent it.