Carvalho was shot dead by two men as he was presenting his afternoon radio show in the town of Camocim in the northern state of Ceará. The two suspects entered the offices of Radio Liberdade FM 90.3, saying they wanted to place an ad. Once inside, they shot Carvalho three times, according to the indictment by Camocim's public prosecutor, a copy of which was reviewed by CPJ.
Carvalho was the director of the small station and presented a one-hour morning show and an afternoon show from noon to 3 p.m., in which he often criticized local police and politicians, Tadeu Nogeira, a friend and colleague who worked on a companion blog to Carvalho's show, told CPJ.
The journalist had received death threats from anonymous sources that police said were in connection with his on-air reports on corruption and wrongdoing by local police and politicians in Camocim.
A police spokesman who asked not to be identified told CPJ the journalist's cellphone contained messages sent to family members saying he was afraid because of death threats made against him. Nogueira told CPJ similar threats had been left on his Facebook page.
A day after the murder, police arrested Gisele de Souza do Nascimento, 23, and Francisco Antonio Carneiro Portela, 18, in the nearby town of Senador Sá, the police spokesman told CPJ via phone. The suspects were accused of providing a safe house for the gunmen. Police said they found the clothes that were worn by the suspected shooters, as well as two revolvers and ammunition. The two are in custody and have been charged with murder, according to news reports.
Police also detained a third man in the neighboring town of Martinópole. Daniel Lennon Almada, 31, was accused of providing the killers with the getaway motorcycle, the police spokesman told CPJ. Lennon was identified as the nephew of João Batista Pereira da Silva, the uncle of the mayor of Martinópole. He is in custody and has been charged with murder.
The prosecutor's indictment also named the alleged gunmen as local residents Thiago Lemos da Silva, 22, and Israel Marques Carneiro. "[The gunmen] are on the run and we are searching for them," the police spokesman told CPJ
According to the indictment, the two killed Carvalho because he had criticized James Mel, the mayor of Martinópole town.
In September, police arrested Lemos and his wife, Regina Rocha Lopes, 19, who was accused of collaborating in the planning of the crime, press reports said. According to police, Lemos admitted participating in the murder but denied shooting Carvalho.
Police identified the mastermind of the crime as Silva, the mayor's uncle, according to the indictment. Souza do Nascimento said Silva agreed to pay 9,000 reals (about US$2,300) to the gunmen to commit crimes, including the murder, the police spokesman and press reports said. Silva remains at large. In December 2015, police arrested his brother, Francisco, who is accused of funding the crime, according to local news reports.