Press "Enter" to skip to content

Sick Boy Dies After Dad Allegedly Blew Treatment Money On Parties, Hookers And Drugs

A two-year-old boy suffering from a muscular disease passed away on October 17, 2019. The child’s father allegedly spent most of his treatment money. (1)

Spinal Muscular Atrophy

João Miguel Alves, a toddler living in Brazil, received a diagnosis for spinal muscular atrophy at a young age. Spinal muscular atrophy is a genetic disease. An estimated one in every 6,000 to 10,000 babies worldwide is born with spinal muscular atrophy. It is one of the most common genetic diseases that affect children. (1, 2, 3)


Source: Facebook/Mateus Henrique Leroy Alves

Spinal muscular atrophy affects the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, and voluntary muscle movement. Children with this disease lose their motor neurons, which are nerve cells located in the spinal cord. The spinal cord is where most of the nerve cells that control muscles live. (2, 3)

When nerve cells don’t stimulate muscles, they atrophy, or get smaller. There are four types of spinal muscular atrophy. Children with the most common type have weakness in their voluntary muscles. It is most common for the shoulders, hips, thighs, and upper back muscles to be affected. The disease can affect the muscles used for breathing and swallowing, which causes special complications. (2)

In the past, infants who were diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy weren’t expected to live past two years of age. Now, doctors tend not to make solid predictions about life expectancy. However, this disease is still the most common genetic cause of mortality in infants. (2)

Raising Treatment Money

Doctors prescribed João Miguel a medication called Spinaza that would keep his disease from progressing. But each dose costs more than $90,000 USD. (1)

João Miguel’s parents, Mateus Henrique Leroy Alves and Karine Rodrigues, started a fundraising campaign to help pay for his medication. The Brazilian government offered to pay for João Miguel’s first three treatments. Their hometown of Conselheiro Lafaiete in southeastern Brazil held a marathon to raise funds as well. Within a year, the family had raised $257,000. (1)

A Father’s Betrayal

Despite the success Mateus and Karine had in raising treatment money for João Miguel, Mateus effectively abandoned his family in May 2019. He told Karine that he was going out of town to train as a security guard. He visited his family and would not go into detail about the security guard training he said he was taking. (1, 4)

Karine contacted the police after she noticed large withdrawals and bank transfers taken from the family’s accounts. The couple kept João Miguel’s treatment money in four separate accounts. Mateus and Karine were each responsible for two accounts. However, Mateus had access to the passwords for all four accounts and made transfers to the ones he was responsible for. (1,4)

Police found Mateus in a beachfront luxury hotel, where he had been living for two months. Allegedly, he spent his son’s treatment money on alcohol, drugs, sex workers, and designer clothes and watches. When police arrested him, Mateus told them that he was a victim of extortion. The investigation is ongoing. (1)

João Miguel passed away suddenly on October 17. Besides João Miguel, Karine and Mateus have a 10-year-old son. They have been married for 13 years. (1, 4)