Arturo Gatti: Mystery in Brazil

August 2, 2009

Arturo GattiWhen we think of “Rio” and even of Brazil in general, it is thoughts of scantily clad men and women, brown bodies and fun and more brown bodies…well you get it. However, is this place a little like one of my favorite places south of the border? Be “Very, Wary Carefool,” as in don’t drink the water, don’t get sick, don’t wear nice watches, don’t get arrested, and worst of all, DON’T GET DEAD.

One of my good friends is Robert Jakucs, L.A.P.D. Homicide Retired, Col. U.S.M.C. Retired (you see why we are friends, we have so much in common). Even with all of these credentials it was I, John J. Nazarian, who taught Bobby all about the P.I. racket.
Bobby calls me and tells me of the “murder” of famed Canadian boxer Arturo Gatti at the hands of his lovely wife, using the strap from her handbag…as it’s being reported. She had strangled him while he was in a drunken stupor.

Bobby is without a doubt one of the worlds greatest boxing historians. Names, dates, places, who won, who got KOd , who liked to drink…Bobby is a king of trivia, all those wars he has fought in I am sure has something to do with this, you get it. In fact, I had seen Arturo Gatti fight at Bobbys house…sure Bobby likes to make pizza and a bunch of us get together and watch the fight on his big screen…it is great, except that Jakucs complains about how much work goes into making the pizza and the cost and on and on, well you get it (fact be told I believe that it is his wife who does all the work). Watching Gatti fight was one of my highlights, as I too love boxing, just cannot remember much, except I know I would not want to get hit by one of these guys.

Well I get another phone call and Bobby is beside himself, he tells me the Brazilian authorities are ruling the death of Gatti a “SUICIDE.” I told Bobby I would look into it further, and well folks, doing anything in Brazil if you are not a Brazilian is not easy. Now I am not saying there is some hanky-panky Samba Style here, but how could the police on the scene first get a murder mixed up with a suicide IF the facts are as they are being reported at this time? Milena Saraiva, the spokesperson for Recife Police, is saying pretty much it was a misinterpretation of the evidence. That being that Arturo decided to hang himself sometime on July 11, 2009 and that he was hanging for three plus hours, and he was at about 7.3 feet off the ground. That is until the “strap” broke and the body fell to the floor below. Now if he had hung that long, he would have had LOTS of POOLING of BLOOD in his lower parts of his arms and hands and in the lower parts of his legs and feet, with severe staining. Folks if what the Brazilians are selling is true there would be tons of evidence. And again, I would have to believe that even an unseasoned officer would have enough common sense to see what the facts were. BUT we have the Brazilian factor…remember the recent case of David Goldman, whose wife leaves him and takes his son to Brazil (her country) and gets her divorce there, re-marries and then dies during the birth of her second child by the new husband. Both are Brazilians and Mr. Goldman is a U.S. citizen and now Brazilian “daddy” is trying to get Mr. Goldmans son’s birth certificate to show that he is “daddy.” And it is all being done under the watchful eyes of the Brazilian Courts….oh for sure, nice beaches!

Well, Armanda Rodrigues (Gatti’s wife) wakes up on July 11, 2009 at about 9 A.M. and goes downstairs to get milk for the couple’s baby. She sees Arturo laying I am sure in a heap and thinks, “he is just drunk,” goes and gets the milk and returns at 10 A.M. and finds the motionless “heap” of Arturo again and still doesn’t think something is wrong…she could not see that he was dead? Well it is being reported that the strap of Armandas purse was the strap he chose to hang himself with…what purse strap would be that strong (not sure, I never carried one)? And how dumb is the 23 year old Armanda to not realize that the “love of her life” is laying dead now for hours and she never notices anything is wrong.

It was reported that Mr. Gatti had 7 beers and drank a few bottles of wine. Just writing this I got dizzy, that is a great deal of alcohol to consume even with dinner. And that a fight had occurred where a security guard got punched in the face (can I guess he did not know who Arturo was?). And keep in mind this is in a nice vacation spot called Porto De Galinhas.”

Saraiva said 17 witnesses told police the couple got into a loud fight on a street near the beach in Porto de Galinhas the night before Gatti died. Saraiva said Gatti had seven cans of beer, along with two bottles of wine, over the course of dinner and partying at a bar according to a telephone interview with the Associated Press as she walked out of jail. Thursday, Rodrigues said Gatti may have killed himself because he feared she would leave him after their fight, one of many during a rocky two-year marriage. “I believe that when we got home and he saw that he hurt me, he thought I would leave him, that I would tell him to just let me go, that I would separate from him,” she said. “He did that in a moment of weakness. He was drunk, maybe he didn’t know what he was doing, maybe he thought I would leave him the next day.”

According to records at the Court of Quebec’s criminal and penal division, Gatti was charged on April 16 for violating a restraining order that had been filed against him. Records didn’t indicate who filed the restraining order, but Gatti’s mother, Ida, confirmed it was Rodrigues who had taken one out against him. Gatti, a Canadian who captured two world titles in his 16-year pro career, retired in 2007 with a record of 40-9. “This case has been resolved,” Saraiva said. “While the evidence at the scene first led us to think Gatti was murdered, the autopsy results and a detailed crime scene analysis simply pointed to a different outcome.”

Well, all I will say about this is that I know two of the best Robbery-Homicide Division investigators that the Los Angeles Police Department ever had, William Cox and Robert Jakucs, both retired, and they know one of the best private investigators (who just happens to have been a cop and a mortician as well) in the world, me! And I would love to have the opportunity to review the evidence in this case and to see what we would come up with.

However, folks there is one big problem, all of this took place in Brazil and we have a Brazilian citizen involved, a pretty and very young Brazilian citizen and can I assume now, a rather wealthy Brazilian citizen?

My thoughts:

As drunk as he was could he have done this balancing act? My god it was a miracle he did not fall to his death trying to hang himself…if that is what happened at all.

Young wife, pretty and being brutalized as it was reported on a public street, didn’t someone come to her aid?

How drunk was Arturo…could he have been handled in such a way that in fact he was murdered and all of this hanging was done when he was still alive but very drunk?

How much money is there in the estate of this boxing legend?

With a two year marriage in the U.S. Armanda would have certainly been taken care of as being the mother of Arturos child…. now that is no concern as she is the “survivor” of a very stormy two year marriage.

Also, did she find the “silence” surrounding the dead sleeping Gatti just a little too quiet?

Read all this folks and try not to wonder…

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