Officers in Brazil were conducting a search for members of a drugs gang at the house in the Guarulhos district, Sao Paulo, when instead, they discovered a "malnourished" man tied up to a bed in the basement. The bewildered man, Armando de Andrade, was reportedly surrounded by faeces in a small, dark room. Detectives believe he has lived in those conditions for 20 years.

Teenager was last seen at 16

According to the police chief Celso Marchiori, from the moment he was found he did not utter a single word, he only responded with a slight nod when he was spoken to, outside.

Since then, Amando has been taken to the hospital. The last time Armando was seen by friends was two decades ago; neighbours described him as a "normal 16-year-old" boy who liked skateboarding and playing music. Although he was never seen again, one concerned friend told local media that Armando's family assured him by saying he had moved elsewhere in the country and was "doing well". One neighbour shared his theory as to why the teenager had been locked up. Aparecido Rocha Brasil, told Brazillian news channel, Globo News TV, that Armando's parents took action after the teenager had shown an interest in alcohol. He said: "Every teenager is curious about these things."

The father's word against the community's word

Armando's father, Amancio de Andrade, gave a different account to officials when questioned.

He has denied the allegations and claimed that his son left home at age 18, only to return last week. He also suggests that he was following his son's advice, according to him, Armando had asked to be locked away as a way of becoming clean from his drug addiction

Police have started investigations and will now have to scrutinise the claims made against Amancio, the account he gave, and the condition Armando was left in, to make sense of this story.

Armando's father and step-mother have yet to be arrested. According to reports, the pair has fled their home following hostile behaviour from those in the community.

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