The family of Maria is now taking legal action against AFC Torino Spa, the company responsible for cemeteries in the city, which claims it was following “regulations laid down by the local authority” by exhuming and cremating the body, according to a report in La Stampa.
Her grandson, Maurizio, made the discovery after visiting the grave at the cemetery in the Sassi area in late April.
In the complaint filed with Turin-based lawyer, Alberto Pantosti Bruni, he said: “I noticed a small tractor removing the last pieces of marble…To my dismay, the tomb had disappeared. Nobody warned us about the exhumation, we are outraged.”
The family later discovered that the body had been cremated, something that Maria was always against.
They are also seeking to retrieve jewellery, including two gold rings and a brooch, that were buried with the body.
According to a notice on AFC Torino’s website, exhumations are carried out upon expiration of a burial period of ten years for a regular grave and 40 years for a stone mausoleum.
It is unclear from the news reports how Maria was buried or when her burial period was due to expire. The Local was unable to reach a spokesperson for AFC Torino or Mr Bruni for comment.
In a statement published in La Stampa, the president of AFC Torino, Gilberto Giuffrida, said that exhumation notices are posted on the city council’s website, in newspapers, and on cemetery noticeboards, while the cemetery authority is also supposed to handle contact with the family.
If a family cannot be reached, then the body is cremated. He said that any valuables found with the body are stored. However, he did not elaborate on this specific case.