'Once Upon a Crime': All You Need to Know about Elize Matsunaga

Elize Matsunaga: Once Upon a Crime on Netflix consists of four episodes and explores the crime that shocked Brazil and the world in 2016.

Elize Matsunaga shot and dismembered her husband Marcos Matsunaga, and the Netflix documentary features her first-ever interview since her incarceration in 2016.

Everything you need to know about Elize Matsunaga

After a three-day trip to her hometown of Chopinzinho, Paraná to visit her grandmother, former nurse Elize Matsunaga's life would change forever.

On Saturday, May 19, 2012, Elize Ramos Kitano Matsunaga shot her husband Marcos Matsunaga, the CEO, and heir to the food company Yoki, multiple times in their São Paulo apartment in Brazil.

She later dismembered his body, placing the remains in plastic bags before scattering them alongside a road, 20 miles from their home.

Marcos and Elize Matsunaga met through an escort website when Marcos Matsunaga was still married to his first wife.

He cheated on his first with Elize Matsunaga and the pair lived together for three years before his divorce was finalized. They later got married and had a daughter together.

The Netflix documentary, Elize Matsunaga: Once Upon a Crime delves deep into Elize Matsunaga's past. She was from a very poor background, with no father figure and an absent mother. She was raised by her grandparents and her aunt until she was 10-years-old.

After being reunited with her mother and stepfather, she was abused by her stepfather and ran away from home at age 15 as a result.

In her early 20s, Elize Matsunaga trained a nurse before deciding she wanted to become a lawyer.

To afford her college fees, Elize Matsunaga turned to prostitution and moved to São Paulo, where she met Marcos Matsunaga.

The last CCTV images of Marcos Matsunaga alive are of him in the lobby of his and Elize's apartment, collecting a pizza, looking very irritated and even kicking the elevator wall.

The following day, Sunday, May 20, CCTV footage picked up Elize Matsunaga entering the same elevator, dragging three suitcases.

As for what happened in between those images, only Elize Mutsunaga can account for it.

After Marcos Matsugana's family began to worry about his whereabouts, Elize Matsunaga told his concerned family her husband had fled on Sunday, May 20 with a bag of clothes and between R$15,000 and R$20,000 in cash.

She even gave the family a reason why he had left—he had been cheating on her.

She even showed the family a video recorded by a private detective Elize Matsunaga had hired of Marcos Matsunaga kissing another woman.

On Monday, May 28, more than one week after the killing, the decapitated head of Marcos Matsunaga was found. Other remains had been found throughout the week, and he was eventually able to be identified by his family.

Elize Matsunaga was made a suspect after her phone records placed her at the location where Marcos Matsunaga's remains were found.

On Monday, June 4, she was arrested over her husband's brutal murder and stood trial in 2016.

During the trial, it was uncovered Marcos Matsunaga had been cheating on his wife.

Elize's defense attorney at her trial stated Marcos Matsunaga had threatened to petition for custody of their one-year-old daughter if they ended their relationship over his affair.

They argued the killing was a "crime of passion", as heard in the Netflix documentary Elize Matsunaga: Once Upon a Crime.

Elize Matsunaga Once upon a crime
Elize Matsunaga gives her first interview in Elize Matsunaga: Once Upon a Crime on Netflix NETFLIX

In Elize Matsunaga's version of events, the pair had an argument and Marcos Matsunaga slapped her and threatened her, leading Elize Matsunaga to pull the trigger.

On the other hand, the prosecution argued it was a case of premeditated murder, and Elize Matsunaga had shot her husband without any warning.

Piaui reported at the trial that judging by the autopsy reports, she had cut his throat whilst he was still alive and breathing.

Speaking in Elize Mutsunaga: One Upon a Crime, Elize Mutsunaga states: "I still don't know what kind of emotion made me pull that trigger."

Where is Elize Matsunaga today?

Elize Matsunaga pleaded guilty to the murder of her husband and the concealment of a corpse in December 2016.

She was sentenced to 19 years in prison and is currently being held at the Tremembé Women's Penitentiary São Paulo.

In 2019, it was reported by news service Istoe that Elize Matsunaga had moved to a semi-open regime, where she coordinates the sewing workshop of the Professor Doctor Manoel Pedro Pimentel Foundation (FUNAP).

In 2019, her sentence was reduced because she confessed to the killing. She is now due for release in 2035, reports The Radio Times.

Elize Matsunaga: Once Upon a Crime premieres Thursday, July 8 on Netflix.