silva brazil
Joelma Silva, 22, (L) and accomplice Alex Carvalho, 18, (R) have been charged with murder in the Brazilian state of Amazonas. Police handout

A mother-to-be was found dead with her belly slashed open after two 'womb raiders' allegedly cut out her unborn baby and kidnapped the child in Brazil.

Incredibly, the child survived with just a superficial cut to the head after what police believe was an improvised C-section on a 20-year-old woman, who was 37 weeks pregnant.

The woman was killed close to the town of Sao Sebastiao do Uatuma, in the Brazilian state Amazonas, with Joelma Silva, 22, and Alex Carvalho, 18, later arrested by police.

The two suspects have been charged with doubly-aggravated murder and have been remanded in custody.

According to police, Silva said that she was unable to get pregnant after losing her first baby and was desperate to provide a son for her husband.

Officers said that she had lied to her husband telling him that she was pregnant, and even went to do a pre-natal class to convince him that she was.

In her desperation she offered Carvalho 4,000 reals (£1000) to find her a baby but claimed that she thought a child would be stolen, rather than a woman killed for a baby, it was reported.

The pregnant woman was a work colleague of Carvalho's who lured her to the Campo de Pelada Pimenta beauty spot according to police.

Silva was paraded before the Brazilian press on Monday (23 October) where she said according to The Mirror: "I thought it would be a kidnapping, snatch the baby and leave the mother alive.

She continued: "At 11 o'clock at night, Alex came back to get me, and said the woman was there.

"When I got there, the woman had fallen on the ground, I heard her saying that her head was hurting, so Alex went and strangled her.

"I took the knife, but it wasn't me who opened her belly. I took the baby out from inside, took him in my arms and cut the umbilical cord, wrapped him in a sheet and took him to my gran's house. In the morning we took the boat back home."

Local police chief Claudenor Medeiros said passers-by found the woman's body and the suspects had been seen leaving the area with a new-born baby.

The suspects were arrested, and Carvalho has already allegedly confessed saying he regretted what he had done.

"I've never done anything like this before, I have no criminal record," he said according to The Sun. "She was my colleague. I'm sorry."

The baby is now in the care of family members, it was reported.