By Janet Tappin Coelho in Rio de Janeiro
Brazilian police are examining security camera images in the hunt for a British rapper, known as Kenny Vulcan, who mysteriously disappeared last Friday (13) after leaving a recording studio in Rio de Janeiro.
Shortly after he vanished friends of the 22-year-old East Londoner, whose real name is Kenny Mukendi, reported his social media accounts had been deleted and his phone was switched off.
The rapper’s baffling disappearance was registered with police on Saturday by worried girlfriend, Renata Lima, 20, after he failed to return home and didn’t contact any other friends in Brazil or family in the UK.
According to Ms Lima, her boyfriend, who is known on London’s underground music scene as an up and coming hip hop artist, has been in Brazil since December. He was reportedly planning to launch a music career in Brazil and was planning to apply for a work permit to stay in the country.
The musician took his passport and two mobile phones with him to OdKill recording studios in Barra da Tijuca last Thursday. All his personal belongings are still in the flat shared with his university student girlfriend.
“We’re really worried about where Kenny is. He doesn’t speak Portuguese, he’s left his computer with me and all his clothes and shoes. He has no reason to disappear and he wouldn’t leave without telling me where he was going,” said an anxious Ms Lima who was the last person to speak to the musician.
“He went to a recording studio on Thursday and stayed overnight working on some songs with a couple other rappers. On Friday morning we spoke on WhatsApp as normal. There was no suggestion there was anything wrong and he didn’t say he wasn’t coming home so I expected him back later that day,” she continued.
According to Ms Lima, who has been dating the rapper for three months, she fell asleep after chatting to her boyfriend around 1pm. Upon waking several hours later after 5pm, she received a message notifying her Mr Mukendi’s Instagram had been deactivated.
“I got scared and tried to get in touch with him another way, but his phones weren’t working. His international cellular had run out of battery on Thursday and his Brazilian phone was switched off. I sent WhatsApp messages asking where he was, but he didn’t respond,” she said.
“I tried reaching him through his Facebook but that was also offline.”
Ms Lima said she contacted OdKill Records and was told by the musicians, who haven’t been named, the Brit had left while they were asleep ‘after a long overnight session’ and they didn’t know what time he had gone and what direction he had headed in.
Close friend, Tony Mariano, also a musician, who recorded a music video with the hip hop singer in January said he’s puzzled by the artist’s disappearance.
Mr Mariano said: “(Kenny’s) a really nice guy. He was peaceful, not worried about the violence here and had no problems with anyone. He was really happy, loved it here and wanted to stay in Brazil. In fact, he was looking for a job in the music industry because he didn’t want to go back to the UK.”
After visiting OdKill Records and confirming the disappearance, Ms Lima reported her concerns to police on Saturday.
From there, the investigation was taken up by Rio’s missing person’s department (DDPA).
Mr Mukendi was last seen wearing a Flamengo football shirt, black trousers, white Nike sneakers and a baseball cap.
The rapper speaks little Portuguese, is Albino, measures about six feet, and sports dyed blue hair. A video of his girlfriend colouring his hair was shared on Facebook in a bid to help identify and find the missing traveller.
According to Renata, the Brit was using a tourist visa, but intended to apply for a work permit. The rapper’s intention, according to his girlfriend, was to stay in the country.
In a statement the DDPA said: “We have already taken statements from witnesses and we are analysing security camera images of the areas near the site where the Londoner disappeared.”
Ms Lima said she is in constant contact with Mr Mukendi’s family and they are being kept up to date with the investigation.