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Waze app directions take woman to wrong Brazil address, where she is killed

by Maggie Elliot - The Oregon Herald Tuesday October 6, 2015    11:18 AM
A 70-year-old businesswoman has been shot dead after using a mobile phone app which made her take a wrong turn into a favela in Rio de Janeiro, according to reports.

Regina Murmura and her husband Francisco, 69, had been trying to get to a beach in Niteroi, Rio, when they accidentally entered the gang-controlled Caramujo favela on Saturday.

Instead, it led them to another street of the same name in Niteroi in one of the city's most notorious slum areas. The woman was shot and killed.

Someone opened fire, with 20 bullets hitting the couple's car, the police spokesman said. Authorities don't know why, though drug gangs are prevalent in the area.

Francisco Murmura managed to drive away. He was not hospitalized.

Waze said it was "incredibly saddened" by the incident.

The incident has raised concerns over security in and around favelas ahead of next year's Olympics in Rio and also over the use of GPS apps in a state where gang-controlled neighborhoods sit next door to tourist areas.

In the city of Rio alone, about 1.4 million people live in favelas -- or about a fifth of the population. In recent years, police have set up a permanent presence in dozens of the dangerous neighborhoods, but many are still controlled by drug gangs.

Waze said it would meet with officials at the Operations Center in Rio de Janeiro this week "to understand how the city is addressing the risk of driving throughout Rio de Janeiro."

In the case of Niteroi, a Brazilian actress made the same mistake two months ago, following her GPS into the Caramujo favela. She was shot at, but survived.

Police in the favela is expected to be reinforced as authorities try to handle security concerns with a year to go ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympics.

While the army is not expected to occupy favelas as part of the Games' security strategy, there will be 85,000 troops and police deployed for the event, including 47,000 in Rio and 38,000 in five other cities hosting football.

A Civil Police spokesman said: "Investigations are ongoing. A victim has testified and agents are taking steps to find witnesses and security camera images that can assist in the investigation."

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