Boy’s rescue leads to discovery of two bodies in Italy
27 February 2008
ROME, Italy – Rescuers in Italy who pulled to safety a 11-year-old boy from a well have made a grisly find – two badly decomposed bodies which officials say belong to two other boys who disappeared almost two years ago.
Experts on Tuesday retrieved the human remains discovered the night before at the bottom of the well situated in a derelict farmhouse in the southern town of Grave di Puglia.
Investigators are "reasonably sure" the bodies were those of brothers Francesco and Salvatore Pappalardi who disappeared in Grave di Puglia on June 5, 2006, said Emilio Marzano, chief prosecutor of Bari, the southern port city under whose jurisdiction the town falls.
"The bodies were almost totally mummified, but we can reasonably say that they are those of the Pappalardi boys. Tomorrow we will have them formally identified by relatives," Marzano said.
"We can already tell they died a horrible death," Marzano added, refusing to provide further details.
The boys’ father, Filippo Pappalardi, was arrested in November and charged with their murder.
Witnesses said that on the evening of their disappearance they saw Pappalardi shove the boys into a car after violently reprimanding them for being out in the town without his permission.
Pappalardi has denied any wrongdoing in the case which triggered a massive police search and huge media and public interest. Pope Benedict XVI also launched an appeal for their safety.
Several sightings of the missing brothers – most of them regarded as bogus by authorities – were reported, including one in Romania.
"All options still remain open. It could also turn out that the boys fell into the well by accident," local police chief Vincenzo Speranza said earlier on Tuesday.
He was speaking before the bodies were recovered and placed into two small white coffins for transport to Bari where further forensic tests are planned for Wednesday.
The 11-year-old boy rescued on Monday night and identified in news reports as Michele D N broke both his legs after falling down the 25m deep stone well. His screams were heard by a passersby who alerted authorities.
[Copyright dpa 2008]