Who killed Sarah Scazzi? The true story of the Avetrana crime

Crime of Avetrana: the murder of Sarah Scazzi

According to the verdict of the Supreme Court of Cassation of 21 February 2017, Sarah Scazzi was killed on 26 August 2010 by her cousin Sabrina Misseri and her aunt Cosima Serrano. The story of the 15-year-old from Avetrana will become a docuseries broadcast on Sky on November 23rd.

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Crime of Avetrana: the murder of Sarah Scazzi

According to the verdict of the Supreme Court of Cassation issued on 21 February 2017, to kill Sarah Scazzi in 2010 were her cousin Sabrina Misseri and her aunt Cosima Serrano, sentenced to life imprisonment for voluntary murder. Uncle Michele Misseri, on the other hand, was sentenced to 8 years in prison for concealing a corpse and contaminating the evidence relating to the crime. The fifteen-year-old was killed on August 26, 2010 in Avetrana, in the province of Taranto. The story of the murder had a great media impact: the television program “Who has seen it?” Intervened right from the start in what seemed to be the case of a disappearance. The announcement of the discovery of the girl’s body, which took place on 6 October 2010, was given during the episode of the Rai 3 broadcast with her cousin Sabrina Misseri in connection from Avetrana. Michele Misseri was interrogated during the night for 10 hours and indicated to the investigators the place where the body had been hidden. The story of the murder will become a documentary series broadcast on Sky from 23 November and streaming on Now TV on the same day.

fifteen-year-old Sarah Scazzi in 2010

fifteen-year-old Sarah Scazzi in 2010

The disappearance of Sarah Scazzi on August 26, 2010

Sarah Scazzi passed away on August 26, 2010, within the 12 minutes required to travel 600 meters from her home to that of her uncles Michele Misseri and Cosima Serrano. The fifteen-year-old was supposed to go to the beach with her cousin Sabrina then 22. The two, despite the difference in age, were very close: the girl took her younger cousin with her during the evening outings with the group of friends of the same age. After the disappearance, witnesses said they saw the girl walk the short road between the two houses. Later Sabrina stated in front of the investigators and the press that she had never seen her arrive for the appointment. After trying to call her several times, she gave the alarm to the police. “They certainly kidnapped her,” he told his friend Mariangela Spagnoletti who was supposed to go to the beach with them that afternoon.

Sarah’s mother, Concetta Serrano, reported the disappearance that same evening. The first lead followed by the investigators (and the press) was that of kidnapping for the purpose of ransom. The economic conditions of the Scazzi family, however, would not have justified such an action. The fifteen-year-old, in fact, lived alone with her mother while her father and brother Claudio worked as bricklayers in Milan. The second path followed was therefore that of voluntary removal to join the other two members of the family. Investigations began to identify an accomplice who might have helped her leave.

Avetrana bis, all the lies of the ‘god Ivano’ on the murder of Sarah Scazzi

Uncle Michele Misseri finds Sarah’s cell phone

On 29 September 2010, uncle Michele Misseri found his niece’s cell phone in an olive grove. The device was without battery and Sim card. The farmer said he went to the countryside to retrieve a forgotten screwdriver and found his cell phone in those circumstances. He said he recognized the electronic device thanks to a can-shaped pendant tied to the screen. By 29 September 2010 Sarah had now been missing for 33 days and the searches seemed to be a continuous hole in the water despite the continuous reports of sightings throughout Italy.

Michele Misseri, Sarah's uncle initially accused of the murder

Michele Misseri, Sarah’s uncle initially accused of the murder

Misseri’s confession and the body found on live TV

Uncle coped five days of interrogation before confessing on 6 October 2010. He told investigators that he killed Sarah with a rope inside his garage. During the confession he added that he had abused his niece after taking her life and then throwing her body into a well. On the evening of October 6, Federica Sciarelli announced on live TV the latest development of the investigation during the connection with her cousin Sabrina and the mother of fifteen-year-old Concetta Serrano.

Misseri, taken to prison, soon changed his version: on October 15 he summoned his daughter Sabrina, claiming that he had killed the fifteen-year-old while she was holding her. The autopsy in the meantime denied the sexual abuse of the corpse and in a new further version of the facts, Avetrana’s uncle attributed all the responsibilities to his daughter, revealing that he had only participated in the concealment of the corpse.

Sabrina Misseri at the torchlight procession for her cousin Sarah Scazzi

Sabrina Misseri at the torchlight procession for her cousin Sarah Scazzi

Sabrina’s arrest and jealousy for Ivano Russo

Cousin Sabrina was arrested at the age of 22 on October 15, 2010 on charges of voluntary homicide. The motive was provided by his father Michele during the last interrogation: the daughter had quarreled with Sarah about a boy the day before the crime. The two had in fact fallen in love with Ivano Russo, a friend of the then 22-year-old. Unaware of Sarah’s feelings, Ivano had had an affair with Sabrina and then abruptly broke off the relationship. The investigators then began to analyze the text messages exchanged with the girl in search of further clues. The 26-year-old repeatedly told the police about his relationship with 15-year-old Sarah, who was considered “a child and a tender friend”. He told the investigators that he had never even guessed the feelings of the fifteen-year-old. He also claimed that he had never met the girl before the murder. According to the judges of the “silent trial on the Avetrana case” closed in 2020, Ivano lied for 10 years about his role in the crime. The then 26-year-old allegedly met Sabrina and her cousin about 30 minutes before the murder, contrary to what was said in the courtroom. According to the magistrates, even the young man’s mother and brother became complicit in the false reconstruction provided to the prosecutors. Russo was sentenced to 5 years in prison

Ivano Russo, the then 26-year-old object of the rivalry between Sarah and her cousin Sabrina

Ivano Russo, the then 26-year-old object of the rivalry between Sarah and her cousin Sabrina

The arrest of Cosima Serrano

With the developments in the investigations, the figure of Cosima Serrano began to acquire more and more importance. The woman was never mentioned by Misseri in the interrogations and remained for a long time always in the background. The citizens of Avetrana, however, began to confess new details to the investigators: the local florist said he saw Sabrina and Cosima chase Sarah in the car and then force her to get on board. He later retracted what was revealed saying he had “dreamed of everything”. The man was accused of false statements to the prosecutor. The investigation culminated in Cosima’s arrest on May 26, 2011 on charges of complicity in murder and kidnapping. Also changed the position of Michele, held responsible only for the suppression of a corpse. According to the investigators, Cosima had not had good relations with her sister Concetta for several years now. However, the woman had continued to see her niece Sarah, very close to her family and to her 22-year-old cousin. According to investigators, the woman helped Sabrina to kill the girl driven by the hatred towards her sister and by the new rivalry between the 22-year-old daughter and the victim.

Cosima Serrano, Sarah's aunt and Sabrina's mother arrested a year after the murder of the fifteen-year-old

Cosima Serrano, Sarah’s aunt and Sabrina’s mother arrested a year after the murder of the fifteen-year-old

How Sarah Scazzi was killed: the reconstruction of the dynamics

In the morning of August 26, 2010, Sarah would have reached her cousin’s house to go with her to the beach. According to what was later ascertained from the investigations on the misdirection, Sabrina and her 15-year-old cousin would have met Ivano Russo in the village. The then 26-year-old would have seen the two arguing heatedly and would have walked away quickly aware that he was the subject of the discussion. The 15-year-old allegedly revealed to some older friends that Sabrina had been rejected by Ivano shortly before having sex, thus unleashing her cousin’s wrath. According to the prosecution, the confession could have “compromised” Sabrina’s reputation in the small town. The new hatred between the two would have led the 22-year-old to attack and kill Sarah inside her home with the help of a belt. After the murder, the body was taken to the garage and subsequently made to disappear by uncle Michele with the help of his brother Carmine and his nephew Cosimo Cosma. According to the prosecutors, the crime was the culmination of a situation of extreme tension between the families of Sabrina and Sarah.

Concetta and Cosima Serrano during the live broadcast of Porta a Porta on Rai

Concetta and Cosima Serrano during the live broadcast of Porta a Porta on Rai

The definitive sentences of Michele Misseri, Sabrina Misseri and Cosima Serrano

On 21 February 2017, the Supreme Court confirmed the life sentence for Sabrina Misseri and her aunt Cosima Serrano, considering the sentence already issued on 27 July 2015 by the appellate judges to be correct. Michele Misseri, uncle of the victim, was sentenced to 8 years in prison for concealing a body. Together with the three main protagonists of the story were sentenced in 2013 also Carmine Misseri, brother of his uncle Michele and his nephew Cosimo Cosma. The two, according to the magistrates, helped the family to hide the body of the 15-year-old by throwing it into a well and covering it with a boulder to prevent the police from identifying it. For both judges they decreed 6 years of imprisonment with relative disqualification from public office for 5 years. Cosimo Cosma, nephew of Michele Misseri, died in 2014 after a long illness. Ivano Russo, the 26-year-old subject of the dispute between Sabrina and Sarah shortly before the murder, was also sentenced in the context of the trial on the misdirection of the Avetrana case. The young man should have served in first instance 5 years of imprisonment for the accusation of false information to the prosecutor and false testimony at the Court of Assizes. For him, the crime came into limitation in June of this year.

In the tortuous and complex investigation into the Avetrana crime story, characters also accidentally linked to the Misseri family ended up. This is the case of Giuseppe Nigro, hotelier who for months hosted the television crews and journalists involved in following the case in his structure. According to investigators, the man allegedly tried to cover up his mother-in-law Cosima Serrano by providing her with an alibi for the day of the crime. Nigro was sentenced to 2 years in prison and was allowed a suspended sentence. Sentenced to one year and four months (with suspended sentence) Vito Russo Jr, former lawyer of Sabrina Misseri, for personal aiding and abetting.

The latest news on the crime

The latest news regarding the trial for the Avetrana crime are related to the convictions on the second trunk of the investigations for misdirection. In fact, the sentences of Ivano Russo and Michele Misseri were overturned, who at this juncture should have served 4 years in prison for having lied to the judges, blaming themselves for the crime. The 3-year prison sentence also lapsed for Alessio Pisello, friend of Sarah and Sabrina accused of perjury, Elena Baldari (Ivano’s mother), Anna Lucia Pilchierri (Carmine Misseri’s wife), Claudio Russo (Ivano’s brother) ). Despite the final sentences issued, the details of the Avetrana affair are still different: all the doubts about the case have been collected in a book published by Fandango.


Source: Fanpage by www.fanpage.it.

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