(CBS NEWS) – A woman accused of abducting her son in a case that drew international attention is speaking out in her first U.S. interview. Marcelle Guimaraes, a Houston mother, took her son, Nico, to Brazil in 2013, and never returned. She’s a fugitive, wanted by the FBI, and charged with international parental kidnapping.
Nico’s father has been fighting to bring the boy back to Texas. Now Guimaraes’ parents face sentencing on a kidnapping charge for helping their daughter take the now 9-year-old boy to Brazil. They could face as much as three years in prison when they’re sentenced Wednesday.
Speaking to our Houston affiliate KHOU’s Marcelino Benito from Brazil, Guimaraes insisted she was in a life-or-death situation and told us she’s the real victim.
“The world needs to know the truth because I married a monster,” Guimaraes said, adding, “My ex-husband’s lies and manipulation has destroyed my family, my whole family.”
Photos taken inside the home she once shared with her ex-husband, Christopher Brann, show the holes he punched into the walls in fits of anger.
“He would hit me. He would break TVs, he would break chairs, computers, cell phones, tables. It was escalating,” Guimaraes said.
In a 2012 email to Guimaraes, Brann admits to pushing her onto the bed and floor and hitting her face.
“When I got in Brazil, I started to get desperate. I knew that my situation was really bad,” Guimaraes said.
Guimaraes’ parents, Carlos and Jemima, pointed to the alleged domestic violence at their criminal trial in May, but the jury rejected that defense and found them guilty of international parental kidnapping.