Why Police Wanted to Keep Ryan Lochte and Teammate in Rio for Questioning: 'What They Said to Us Did Not Make Sense'
"There are some things that they told us that are not right," João Silva Oliveira of the Municipal Guard, tells PEOPLE
Brazilian police are looking to speak to Lochte about discrepancies in the statements he and fellow swimmer James Feign gave after reporting that they and three other American swimmers were held up at gunpoint after robbers posing as police officers pulled them over in a taxi.
Police have not been able to find their taxi driver or any witnesses and according to Brazilian officials, the details the two men gave were too scant to verify and at times contradictory.
Both Lochte and Feigen reported that they were too drunk at the time of the incident to remember where the robbery took place, nor any details about the taxi in which the incident occurred. This has raised some eyebrows about the veracity of their statements.
“There are some things that they told us that are not right and are not the same as what the other people told us,” João Silva Oliveira of the Municipal Guard, told PEOPLE on Wednesday.
He explained that their account of the incident lacked basic details that the police would need to verify or solve the alleged crimes.
“They are not able to tell us what the taxi looked like or what color it is. They also gave us different information about how many people were there with guns,” he continued.
The judge’s order prohibits Lochte and Feign from leaving Brazil – but Lochte appears to already be back in the U.S. The 12-time Olympic medalist’s father, Steve Lochte, told the Associated Press that his son arrived in the U.S. on Tuesday – before the judge’s order. Lochte also announced that he had returned stateside Tuesday, posting a Snapchat celebrating being “back on U.S. soil.”
A source with the U.S. Team told PEOPLE that police went to the Olympic village early Wednesday morning to take the swimmers’ passports, but Lochte was already gone. In addition, police searched the now-vacant swim team’s rooms in the village, the source said.
“The entire swim team had moved out already, so they couldn’t take the passports,” the source said. “They don’t believe his version of events, so there will be an inquiry.”
The source continued, “This was the most high profile incident that has happened here in Brazil, so the government is really taking it seriously. The USOC is cooperating fully, of course, but they want to talk to Ryan. They’re not happy at all that this has given Rio a black eye, and they are vowing to get to the bottom of it. It’s a mess right now.”
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Silva Oliveira agreed that the Brazilian officials’ number one priority is discovering what really happened.
“What they said to us, it did not make sense. We cannot investigate a crime if we don’t know what happened and what they told us is not correct,” Silva Oliverira said. “We want to know why they were in the area where they were robbed and what happened. They did not tell us until later.”
“We believe that more information will come out that might make everyone look at what happened in a different light,” he continued. “We need to talk to them again to make sure that what they tell us is right. We have a lot more questions.”
A statement from the prosecutor said surveillance videos of the athletes on the night of the alleged robbery add to investigators’ doubts that the athletes are telling the full story.
“One sees that the supposed victims arrived with their physical and psychological integrity intact, even playing with each other, showing that there wasn’t any psychological shock inherent to such alleged violence,” the statement says.
Continuing: “The more than calm behavior of the athletes straight after the supposed violence, together with other details present in the inquiry, makes me believe that more investigations should be undertaken into the possible false communication of a crime.”
Under Brazilian law, filing a false police report is punishable by up to six months in detention or a fine, according to USA Today.
The United States Olympic Committee previously confirmed that Lochte was robbed in a statement, but provided no additional details. Lochte’s lawyer, Jeff Ostrow, did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Ostrow told the AP that there was no doubt that the robbery happened and Lochte remained confined to his hotel room in the days since.
“It doesn’t behoove Ryan and anyone else to make up a story,” he said.
•With reporting by STEVE HELLING