Marcus Vinicius de Oliveira, also known as Marcus Matraga, 57, was a retired professor from the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) and was involved in the campaign to reform the mental health system in Brazil and the mediation of land conflicts in the Recôncavo Baiano region. Born in Minas Gerais, Marcus was married to Marta Melo. Marcus had a master´s degree in Public Health from UFBA and a PhD in Collective Health from the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ, in portuguese).
Marcus was murdered on February 4, 2016, with a gunshot to the head, after being kidnapped in the municipality of Jaguaripe – BA. The murder occurred in Pirajuía, a municipality near Salinas das Margaridas. Marcus was kidnapped by two men who went to his residence informing him that a friend of his was ill. One of the killers pretended to be the grandson of Marcus´ friend. As soon as Marcus left his house, he was grabbed and taken by the criminals to a road where he was murdered. The vehicle used in the crime, a green S10 pick-up, was found the day after the murder.
Police did not disclose the names of the suspects to avoid jeopardizing the investigation. The hypothesis is that the crime is related to Marcus’ recent involvement in the mediation of land conflicts in the area where he lived. In August 2016, six months after the assassination, the police investigation was supposedly in the process of being finalized and was ready to be sent to the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
In October 2016, two men were arrested as the authors of the crime, one of them being the one who fired the shot that killed Marcus. A 38-caliber revolver was seized at one of the suspect’s house. By July 2017, one year and five months after the murder, investigations into Marcus’s death had still not yet been completed.
In the same month, Marcus’ family went to Bahia to meet representatives of 11 legal, legislative, academic, union and civil society institutions to a demand a more rigorous investigation. At the time, a permanent follow-up group was created, formed by representatives from the fields of psychology and the defence of human rights protection.
Psychologist Carla França pointed out at the time: “Besides being a professional colleague, Marcus was a symbol of the social commitment of psychology professionals. Our struggle is not only to ascertain the cause of his death but is also a way of taking action on behalf of all the people who are fighting for rights and are being killed in the country. “