Revealed: How Cecilia Haddad was killed
A MASSIVE manhunt for the alleged killer of Sydney businesswoman Cecilia Haddad is underway after a Brazilian court issued a warrant for his arrest.
Ms Haddad's body was found floating in the Lane Cove River in Sydney's north in late April and her ex-lover Mario Santoro is the prime suspect in her murder.
The 40-year-old engineer is believed to have fled Australia for Rio de Janeiro on the same weekend that Ms Haddad, a former mining executive, was found dead.
Mr Santoro is now considered a fugitive in both Australia and Brazil and can be arrested on the spot in either country, according to SBS Portuguese.
This morning the Brazilian Homicide Division confirmed in a statement, translated from Portuguese to English, that police had spoken to Ms Haddad's relatives and issued a warrant for Mr Santoro's arrest.
"The Homicide Division began the investigation by listening to relatives of the victim, Cecília Müller Haddad, as well as providing expert analysis of some documents that the family of the victim Cecília Müller Haddad provided," the statement said.
Authorities also revealed for the first time Ms Haddad's cause of death was strangulation.
"It is possible to evidence the death of the victim by mechanical asphyxia by constriction of the neck," Brazilian police said in the statement.
It is believed Ms Haddad had ended her relationship with Mr Santoro in the weeks before she was murdered.
The pair had been both romantically and professionally involved for a decade before Ms Haddad kicked him out of her Ryde apartment.
In June, Ms Haddad's mother Milu Muller said she had spoken to her over the phone on April 28 and had heard what she believed to be Mr Santoro yelling in the background.
Ms Muller said she and her 38-year-old daughter were discussing tax returns when Mr Santoro appeared outside her daughter's apartment, demanding to be let in.
"I heard Marcelo's voice outside, saying he wanted to come in," Ms Muller told The Daily Telegraph.
"Cecilia told him to go away, but he carried on banging and shouting for her to let him in. So she told him that if he didn't go away she would call the police."
The Brazilian arrest warrant comes a week after Australian police and Interpol issued warrants for Mr Santoro's arrest.
Since the warrant was issued, police have scoured Mr Santoro's home in Rio de Janeiro as well as the home of his parents in Copacabana.
Local media are reporting that police suspect he may be holed up in a house outside of Rio de Janeiro.