Gardaí investigating the killing of 28-year-old Brazilian woman, Bruna Fonseca in Cork on New Year’s Day have travelled to Brazil to take statements from a number of witnesses they believe can assist them in their investigation.
Two officers involved in the investigation flew to Brazil on Monday and were joined by a Garda Liaison Officer based in Bogotá in Colombia, who met the two Cork detectives before they travelled to Ms Fonseca’s hometown of Formiga in Minas Gerais province in south-eastern Brazil.
It’s expected that the gardaí will meet local police officers and then take witness statements from several family members, including a relative who raised the alarm by contacting gardaí in Cork when they became concerned after they were unable to contact Ms Fonseca on New Year’s Day.
Gardaí called to a building on Liberty Street in the city centre at around 6.30am on New Year’s Day, meeting a man who admitted them to the upstairs flat. They found Ms Fonseca unconscious, the emergency services were alerted, and paramedics tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate her.
Ms Fonseca was pronounced dead at the scene by a local GP and her remains were removed to the morgue at Cork University Hospital where Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margot Bolster performed a postmortem which confirmed that she had died a violent death.
Gardaí later arrested a 29-year-old man, who was known to Ms Fonseca, for questioning about her death. He was later charged with her murder and he has since made a number of court appearances on the single charge and is due back before Cork District Court on February 13th
A qualified librarian, Ms Fonseca came to Cork in September 2022 to improve her English. She obtained work as a cleaner with Bidvest Noonan Contract Cleaners and was working at the Mercy University Hospital at the time of her death.
Her cousin, Marcela Fonseca and her niece, Maria Fonseca, who lived with her in a flat on Southern Road in Cork, launched a Go Fund Me page to raise money to bring her body home for burial at Formiga and within days, they had raised €54,000 to fund the repatriation of her remains.
Ms Fonseca’s sister, Izabel flew to Cork a week later and visited the scene on Liberty St where her sister was killed before she brought her sister’s remains back to Formiga where she was buried on January 16th alongside her grandparents in Formiga’s Cemiterio do Santissimo.
Earlier back in Cork, members of the Brazilian community held a vigil for Ms Fonseca at one of her favourite places in the city, the Lough where they heard a message from Ms Fonseca’s friend in Brazil, Maria Paula who recalled how her friend radiated joy and happiness.
“Bruna was like a sunny day in the rainy season. She was a loving and dedicated daughter and sister, a confidant friend and a great companion, a committed and honest professional,” said Mr Barroso, quoting Maria Paula.
“She would welcome you with open arms, her laugh contagious to whoever was around and if we can personify the word ‘resilience’, it would be her. There was nothing in the world that would make her give up, her dreams were just too big.”