Crucifixion killing: DNA matches in three cases

Police have found DNA matches in three separate cases linked to the so-called “crucifixion killing” of a prostitute whose body was found tied to a horizontal bar in a position similar to that of crucifixion in the outskirts of Florence.

Crucifixion killing: DNA matches in three cases
Investigators have not ruled out that there could be more cases linked to the killing. Photo: Rosie Scammell

On Wednesday, police confirmed that they are hunting for a serial offender targeting prostitutes in Florence after the same DNA was found in three separate cases investigated in connection with the latest killing, Italian news agency Ansa reported.  

The DNA, which was discovered on the tape used to bind the women, concern a case from July 17th 2011 in Calenzano, a case from March 28th 2013 in Ugnano and another from February 21st 2014, also in Calenzano.

Police are also investigating possible links with four other cases dating back as far as 2006.

One of the cases under examination involved a 46-year-old female prostitute, who last March reported being raped, robbed and tied with tape by a client on the same road after being approached by a customer in the northern outskirts of the city.

But investigators have not ruled out that there could be more cases linked to the killing.

The Dna breakthrough comes after it was reported that the tape used to bind the woman may provide vital clues to the identification of her killer.

According to reports on Tuesday, the tape has an inscription which links it to the Careggi hospital in Florence.

The body of 26-year-old Romanian prostitute Andrea Cristina Zamfir was discovered by a cyclist under a bridge below the A1 motorway in the Ugnano district, on the western outskirts of the city on Monday.

Her body had been bound taped to a horizontal bar, with her “arms outstretched as if she had been crucified”. She was still wearing her shoes and the rest of her clothes were discovered around half a mile away on the same road.

She had been raped with an object – probably a pole – and left to die.

On Wednesday, it was confirmed that the woman had died of an internal hemorrhage following an autopsy at the Institute of Legal Medicine in Careggi.

Police fear that a serial killer similar to the notorious so-called ‘Monster of Florence’ or 'Il Mostro' in Italian, who killed 16 people in the city between 1968 and 1985, could be responsible.

The killer, who mostly targeted couples, was never caught. 

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New York returns 214 stolen artworks to Italy in seven months

Authorities in New York announced on Thursday the return to Italy of 14 more antiquities, worth an estimated €2.3 million, as part of an investigation into smuggling of stolen artifacts.

New York returns 214 stolen artworks to Italy in seven months

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has been conducting an extensive investigation over the past two years into looted antiquities that have ended up in New York museums and galleries — including the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art.

During a ceremony on Thursday with the Italian consul general and Italian police representatives, 14 more artifacts – some 2,600 years old – were officially returned to Italy, bringing the total number of repatriated pieces to that country over the past seven months to 214, District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office said.

READ ALSO: Italian ‘art squad’ police recover 800 illegally-excavated archaeological finds

More than 700 pieces worth more than $100 million have been returned in the past year to 17 countries, including Italy as well as Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Iraq, and Greece, the statement added.

New York, a hub of stolen antiquities trafficking for decades, set up a task force in 2017 to investigate the illicit trade.

According to the statement by District Attorney Bragg, who took office in January 2022, Thursday’s repatriation included the silver “Sicily Naxos Coin,” minted around 430 BCE and currently valued at half a million dollars.

Other notable items included ancient pottery dating to 510 BCE, and amarble head of Roman Emperor Hadrian, dating to 200 CE.

Among the culprits behind the 14 returned pieces, the statement said, were well-known art traffickers Giacomo Medici and Giovanni Franco Becchina, as well as Robert Hecht, the Paris-based American art dealer who died in 2012.

The traffickers had “relied on gangs of tombaroli (tomb raiders) to loot carefully chosen and insufficiently guarded archaeological sites throughout the Mediterranean,” it added.