15 year old Sara Scazzi disappeared from Avetrana, in Puglia, on the 26th August 2010. She was last seen walking down the road towards the house of her cousin, Sabrina Misseri. The two of them having arranged to go down to the beach together with a friend of theirs, Mariangela Spagnoletti.
After 35 days, Sara's mobile phone was found by her uncle, Michele Misseri, in countryside just outside Avetrana. The phone had no battery and no sim card. He had apparantly gone to the field to recover a screwdriver that he had left on the ground while working there previously. The extraordinary coincidence of him finding the phone in that way immediately led to suspicion, although he denied any involvement in her disappearance. His friends and family rallied round to support him.
Attention then shifted to Sabrina, Sara's cousin, when Mariangela Spagnoletti disclosed that Sabrina and Sara had fallen out the night prior to her disappearance over a local boy called Ivan.
Then on the 6th October came the shocking news that Sara's uncle had confessed to killing her. He claimed that he had strangled her after she had rejected his advances in the garage of his house. He also claimed that he had sexually assaulted her after she was dead. He then disposed of her body in a well. From his information, the police found her heavily decomposed body in a water filled drain on farmland owned by the Misseri family, just outside Avetrana.
The large, public funeral for Sara was followed by widespread condemnation of the Misseri family and expressions of public hatred for Michele Misseri who was being held in solitary confinement to protect him from other prisoners. But at the same time there began to emerge contradictions in the evidence and doubts as to whether the whole truth had yet come out.
The investigation began to focus on the exact timing of the sequence of events that led to Sara's death. Sabrina's friend Mariangela Spagnoletti was questioned to establish the timing of a call made by Sabrina to Sara's phone at about the time of her death. When compared with Michele Misseri's claim that he had destroyed Sara's mobile phone after killing her, it left little more than 5 minutes for all of the events to have unfolded from beginning to end. By 14th October, the inconsistencies were so great that the police believed he might be covering up for someone else.
Finally, on 16th October, Sabrina was arrested, accused of murdering Sara together with her father.
The investigators are awaiting the complete forensic report before finalising their conclusions. The evidence seems to suggest that Michele may not have played any part in Sara's death, and was only invloved in the disposal of the body and the subsequent cover-up.
Further investigations seem to have only confused matters more. Miseri now claims that there was no murder, that Sara slipped and banged her head. Other doubts have emerged over the location of the murder with speculation that she was murdered close to the spot where her body was found rather than in the Miseri's garage. The latest doubts are of whether the body is even that of Sara anyway...
We will see...