Murder squad detectives have appealed for help following the discovery of a perfect skeleton made up of five different bodies.
Police are working on the theory that the victims were murdered by a ”collector” who pieced them together to make the body, and are combing through hundreds of missing persons files for clues.
Forensic scientists have established that the skeleton is made from the bones of three women and two men, all aged between 25 and 55 years old, and who died over a 20 year period from the mid 1980s until 2006.
The bizarre discovery was made by firefighters in July 2007 who had been called to a blaze in waste ground, close to a cycle path, in the Magliana suburb of southern Rome.
Police who were called to the scene found the skeleton and alongside it a wallet and keys belonging to pensioner Libero Ricci, 77, who lived nearby and who disappeared in November 2003.
Initially police believed that he had been the victim of a mugging and that his body had then been burnt but the investigation took a surprise twist when Ricci’s relatives said clothes found near the body were not his.
The remains were examined again by pathologists at Rome’s La Sapienza University who established that the bones were not the missing man and in a further twist discovered that DNA from the woman’s skull was compatible with someone related to Ricci.