15kg woman ‘held captive’ at home dies

UPDATED: A starving woman weighing just over 15 kilos, who was allegedly held captive and forced to live in squalid conditions, died on Tuesday morning.

The 55-year-old woman, identified as Laura Carla Lodola, was discovered in the apartment in Pavia, northern Italy, on Monday morning after her partner, Antonio Calandrini, alerted emergency services when she fell unconscious, Tgcom24 reported.

She was taken to hospital but died on Wednesday morning, Il Mattino reported.

Calandrini was arrested on Monday and accused of neglecting a person of unsound mind.

When the ambulance crew arrived at the scene they were confronted with a horrifying spectacle.

The skeletal woman, who was covered in bedsores and had long hair and finger nails, had been living in filthy conditions. Doctors suspect she had been bedridden for years.

“She looked like a small shrunken mummy,” a health worker was quoted as saying.

Police must now determine whether Calandrini forced Lodola to live in such conditions.

Last year, a 36-year-old woman was found among piles of rubbish in an apartment in Naples after allegedly being held captive there by her mother for eight years.

The woman was found “curled up behind a sofa, semi-naked and trying to warm herself with a hair-dryer” and in a poor “physical and mental state”, according to a report in Il Messaggero.

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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.