Police in Brazil have rescued 67-year-old Aparecida Schunck, the mother-in-law of 85-year-old Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone, after she was kidnapped at her home in São Paulo on July 21.
The kidnappers demanded 120 million Brazilian Reals (approximately $36.5 million) for her release but police rescued her unharmed and without the delivery of any ransom.
A police spokesperson confirmed to the BBC that a major police operation was undertaken to free Schunck and that two people were arrested.
Schunck was held at a farmhouse near São Paulo, which police discovered after tracing phone calls made between the kidnappers and her family. According to Schunck’s neighbors, the kidnappers pretended to be delivery men to get past security.
Ecclestone is the billionaire boss of the Formula One Group, the entity which manages most of the commercial aspects of F1. He married Schunck’s daughter, 38-year-old Fabiana Flosi, in 2012. Sources say he was prepared to go to Brazil to help police and offer the services of a private security firm.
Kidnappings were a common occurrence in Sao Paulo in past decades, occurring almost on a daily basis as recently as 2002. They have been on the decline since then however thanks to the formation of special anti-kidnap police units like the one that helped rescue Schunck.