Brazil: Gay teen found murdered with a broken neck and a mouth full of paper

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Police in Brazil are investigating whether the death of an 18-year-old was the result of a homophobic hate crime.

João Antônio Donati, who was openly gay, was found murdered in a vacant lot in the state of Goiás on Wednesday. His neck was broken and his mouth was stuffed with paper.

A police spokesperson told Option Journal: “We will investigate the case to know if the crime is connected with negative feelings towards gay people.”

Donati’s Facebook page has since filled with messages of condolence. A month before his murder, he updated his profile image with the accompanying message: “Determination, courage and self-confidence are decisive factors for success.

“No matter what obstacles and difficulties. If we are possessed of an unwavering determination, we will be able to overcome them.”

Though Brazil passed same-sex marriage into law last May, homophobic attacks and transphobic attacks are still common.

In February, six people thought to be connected to a string of anti-gay attacks in Brazil were arrested, after beating a gay teenager to death with a skateboard.

Two weeks prior, another gay teenager, Kaique Batista dos Santos, was tortured to death by a gang in the the city of San Paulo.