Convicted for the murder of her husband, Marcos Matsunaga, committed in 2012, the nursing technician Elize Matsunaga left Tremembé prison, in the interior of São Paulo, on Tuesday (14), for a temporary outing. She was carrying a piece of fabric with an embroidered message for her daughter: “I will love you beyond life.”
It was a message for the child, now ten years old, with whom Elize has not had contact since she was arrested, shortly after the crime. Marcos’ father and mother have raised the girl since then and do not allow visits from the mother. The girl is at the center of a legal clash involving Elize and the Matsunaga family. On the one hand, the mother asks for the right to visit the child, in addition to custody. On the other hand, her paternal grandparents, who have provisional custody, deny the request and want to deprive her of her family power — which would imply removing Elize’s name from her daughter’s birth certificate.
“We filed a lawsuit asking for the right to coexistence and custody. But family power is presupposed for both requests. The judge suspended the lawsuit and will make a joint judgment, yet without a date, to determine whether Elize is able to exercise motherhood” , explains Juliana Fincatti Santoro, Elize’s lawyer for civil matters.
The lawyer for the Matsunaga family, Patrícia Kadissi, was contacted by the reporter, but stated that she could not give any information about the processes.
Child is raised under another name, says lawyer
Santoro claims that Elize’s daughter has been raised under another name and that her story is being “erased”. Therefore, the client would be making an effort in an attempt to communicate with the girl, whether now or in the future. Elize’s hope is that her daughter will be able to access available information about the case. Mainly, says the lawyer, watching the documentary “Elize Matsunaga: Once upon a time a crime”, released in July by Netflix.
“It was done because there was always a rumor that the child would be taken to Japan forever, and our idea is that, when she went to look for her story, her origins, she would find the mother’s version. So she can make her own value judgment.” claims.
“The family criticizes saying that Elize is exposing the child, but the girl doesn’t even know what’s going on. In fact, it’s an attempt by the mother to communicate with the daughter.”
“One day we’ll talk about what happened,” Elize wrote in a letter to her daughter
Book author “Elize Matsunaga: The Woman Who Butted Her Husband”, recently released by the publisher Matrix, journalist Ulisses Campbell received a letter written by Elize directed to his daughter. “She sent me to publish it in the book, hoping her daughter will see it. As well as the poster at the outing and the documentary,” says Campbell.
In the message, written five years ago, Elize says that “every day I send in my thoughts all the love a mother can feel and every request for forgiveness”. “I would do anything to see your smile again, to hear at least once the word mother, so short but it makes your heart tremble just to think about it. I want you to know that you have a mother who loves you very much. One day, if you will. you want, we’ll talk about everything that happened, the situation that physically pushed us away, just physically, because my heart is with you,” he continues.
In his work, Campbell talked to different characters in the story involving Elize and Marcos Matsunaga and collected psychological reports about her made in prison. One of them, signed by a professional hired by the Matsunaga family and accredited by the Court, according to the author, states that “in some cases, the psychopathic woman uses the separation of her children to draw attention to herself”. “Fighting for the daughter can be a narrative to get this attention”, says the author.
Santoro states that this document is not considered an expert report, but a document made at the behest of Marcos’ family. “Everyone is part of the family power action. But all the reports are favorable to Elize,” he says.
Campbell also spoke with Marcos’ father, Mitsuo Matsunaga, who said he and his wife, Misako, revealed to the girl who her mother was when she was eight years old. The author reports the episode in the book. “There was an activity at school where she needed to talk about her father and mother. She talked about her grandparents, whom she had called parents until then, because she didn’t know anything. A little friend said that those weren’t her parents, and that the The mother had dismembered the father. She came home and questioned them. She was taken to the best child psychologists in São Paulo and, after a while, she learned the whole truth.”
The journalist says that he chose not to ask Mitsuo about the girl’s reaction to discovering the story of her past, also as a way to preserve her. “I didn’t want to make her an active character in the book. After all, she’s a child,” he says. The family keeps her protected from exposure and living a discreet life, far from any spotlight. He receives an excellent education, says Campbell, including teaching four languages in addition to Portuguese. “The idea is that when she turns 18, she can decide which country she wants to live in and what she wants to do with her life. Including looking for her mother.”