Shocking images reveal the cruelty inflicted on a two-year-old boy in Brazil who was taken to hospital with stomach pains.
X-rays revealed 50 needles in his abdomen, neck, thorax and legs.
Police suspect the toddler may have been the victim of a bizarre black magic ritual as the pins were deliberately pushed into his skin.
The director of the hospital where the boy was admitted said, "We're certain the boy didn't swallow the needles of his own accord. If he did, they would be in his gastrointestinal tract."
He added, "I've never seen a case of its kind."
The boy's mother, Marma Souza Santos, denies any knowledge of how the needles got into her son's body, saying that his grandmother cared for him when she was at work.
Although she has also allegedly accused the child's step-father of using the boy in a black magic ritual, claims which he has denied.
None of the metal objects are currently endangering the child's life, although the hospital are treating him for the damaged caused by a needle which has perforated his lung.
While doctors hope that they will be able to remove some of the needles which are close to the skin's surface, the little boy will have to live with many of the pins left inside him owing to the risks involved in attempting to remove them.
Meanwhile, the mystery remains as to what exactly happened to this little boy and why suspicions were not aroused earlier.
Police chief Helder Fernandes Santana said, "It's such a strange situation. We could be looking at attempted murder, a serious assault or some type of revenge attack. We're not ruling anything out at the moment."
Gessivaldo Alves, the boy's father, is focusing his hopes and prayers on his son's recovery, saying, "We have faith in God that he is going to get better."
Now the little boy is safe, it is hoped he will get well soon, but it is hard to imagine who could have committed such extreme abuse to a small child and why.
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