GUARULHOS, Brazil, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Brazil's Civil Police said officers made an unexpected rescue during a drug raid when they found a man they believe was held in captivity by his own family for more than 20 years.
Armando Bezerra de Andrade, 36, was found last week malnourished in the Guarulhos neighborhood. Neighbors said his beard, which almost reached his waist, was covered in fecal matter, Agora reported. He could not speak and he could barely stand.
Neighbors told authorities Andrade disappeared when he was 16 and that he was an outgoing student who was regularly beaten by his stepmother before vanishing suddenly.
Andrade was taken to a local hospital and showed sings of mental health problems, officials said. Andrade's father, stepmother and her son used to live at the house where the drug raid occurred.
After the police raid, the father went to a police station and said his son returned last week after running away as a teenager. He said his son asked to be locked by the family in the room because he was a drug user.
João Batista, a 58-year-old gardener, said Andrade was "very polite" and was a "good boy, even when the stepmother beat him in front of us all," Folha reports.
One day Andrade disappeared as a teenager and Batista asked Andrade's father about his son's whereabouts. Andrade's father would say his son moved from town to town but that he was alright.
"Always a different story. But he said he was fine," Batista said. The father, who was not arrested, is facing false imprisonment charges but a Brazilian official told Globo an arrest would only be made depending on what is revealed through the investigation.
"Just as I do not fully believe what the father said, I can not believe what he tells me," the official said Monday.