A woman has been rescued after being imprisoned for 16 years in a tiny room by her family as punishment for falling pregnant, it has been reported. In a room only 3×3 metres in size, Maria Lúcia de Almeida Braga, now 36, was forced to live in filthy conditions, often naked, and relying on her family to feed her in the Brazilian property.
The room had no toilet and stank of faeces and urine, police reportedly said.
Maria Lúcia was held there by her family after falling pregnant aged 20, sleeping in a makeshift hammock.
But she was said to have been freed this month after an anonymous tip-off led police to the property in the town of Uruburetama – breaking through padlocks at the building to find the woman.
A police spokesman reportedly: “She rushed over to the officers with open arms when she saw us.”
The main family members responsible were her unnamed father and brother João de Almeida Braga, 48, who was arrested for illegally detaining his sister and mistreating her.
While the dad was not apprehended due to ill health, her mother is believed to have tried to resist the punishment for her daughter.
When she gave birth, she was said to not have been able to keep the baby and as the brother and father gave the child away.