Brazilian prisoner caught trying to escape prison dressed as daughter found dead

A Brazilian inmate, whose masked attempt to break out of jail dressed as his daughter reverberated around the world, has been found dead in his cell, Rio de Janeiro state authorities say on Tuesday.

Convicted Rio drug dealer Clauvino da Silva, 42, was serving a decades-long sentence when he was caught trying to break out of jail last Saturday disguised as his daughter.

He was caught wearing an eerie plastic mask, a long black wig and women's clothes, including a bra.

A video, released by prison authorities, in which he slowly removes his surreal disguise went viral, shining a light on Brazil's longstanding struggle with its violent, overcrowded prison system, the world's third largest.

On Tuesday, however, in a gruesome twist, Rio prison officials said Silva had been found dead in his cell in a high-security unit in the state's Bangu prison complex.

Rio's prison authority said in a statement an investigation had been opened, with signs he may have taken his own life.

The death of Silva is an embarrassment for Rio's prison authorities, which had initially cheered their actions in preventing his unusual escape plan. He is the latest prisoner to die in Brazil's jails, which have become a major headache for new tough-on-crime President Jair Bolsonar

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Reuters