It is perhaps the cold case par excellence: the murder of Simonetta Cesaroni, killed with 27 stab wounds on 7 August 1990 in via Poma in Rome. A thriller that still hasn’t a culprit after 32 years. Investigations, trials and an infinite number of investigative leads failed to give a name to those who brutally killed the then 20-year-old in an apartment on the third floor of a building in the heart of the Prati district, in the office of the Association youth hotels.
Now the Rome Prosecutor’s Office is trying again with a new procedure started a few months after a complaint presented by the girl’s family.
In a first phase, the file was opened as model 45, ie without suspects or hypotheses of crime but then it was hinged for voluntary homicide against unknown persons, a state in which it currently finds itself.
A series of hearings were held by the police to whom the prosecutors of piazzale Clodio entrusted the investigations. People who have come into contact, in the past, with personalities touched by the investigations are also listened to. At the center of the investigations a suspect who already at the time of the facts ended up in the crosshairs of investigators. At the moment, however, according to what investigating sources report, “nothing new and relevant” has emerged compared to what has been ascertained over the years. The investigator also listened to the then manager of the Flying Squad, Antonio Del Greco who months ago would have collected the testimony of a woman who would have denied the alibi of one of the characters who ended up in the investigations carried out in the past. The investigators in this area have also analyzed a series of documents already finished in the records of the old proceedings.
The activity of the prosecutors runs parallel to that of the anti-mafia parliamentary commission which in the weeks preceding the government crisis and the dissolution of the Chambers initiated an investigation into the case. A light on any misdirection put in place to mislead the investigators and make it impossible to ascertain the truth. The parliamentarians acquired papers and also proceeded to some hearings, including those of some of Simonetta’s family members.
From a judicial point of view, however, the last sentence on the murder dates back to February 2014 with the ruling of the Supreme Court which confirmed the acquittal for Raniero Busco, the ex-boyfriend of the girl, who in the first instance was sentenced to 24 years in prison. Verdict overturned already on appeal. Rewinding the tape, an infinite maze of hypotheses and suspicions re-emerges: a gallery of characters who have alternated under the magnifying glass of the investigators. On the 7th of her the girl’s body is found: her body is found at the insistence of her sister Paola, worried that the young woman had not returned home. Simonetta is naked, but she has not suffered violence. According to the autopsy, she died between 6 and 6.30 pm. A few days later, on 10 August, Pietrino Vanacore, one of the building’s doormen, was stopped by the police. Some blood stains are found on one of his trousers but it is not Simonetta’s blood. The man was released from prison on 30 August. Investigators are looking both in the girl’s circle of friends, starting with her boyfriend at the time, and in her workplace. The prosecutor Pietro Catalani, after a few months of investigations, requests the dismissal of the position of Salvatore Volponi, Cesaroni’s employer.
On April 26, 1991, the investigating judge filed the documents concerning Pietrino Vanacore and five other people. The file remains open against unknown persons.
About a year passes, on April 3, 1992 a guarantee notice is sent to Federico Valle, grandson of the architect Cesare Valle, who lives in the building in Via Poma and who hosted Vanacore on the night of the crime. Valle is brought up by the declarations of the Austrian Roland Voller, a friend of Valle’s mother, according to whom it appears from the stories of his mother that his son returned stained with blood from Via Poma.
On June 16, 1993, the investigating judge acquitted Valle for not having committed the crime and Vanacore because the crime did not exist.
The investigation enters a long stalemate. In September 2006, Simonetta’s socks, bodice, bra and bag were analyzed. The twist comes with the results of the analyzes carried out by the Ris: on the girl’s clothing, thanks to sophisticated instruments, traces of the saliva of the ex-boyfriend Busco are detected, who in September 2007 is entered in the register of suspects on the charge of voluntary homicide. The investigators also take the impression of the Busco dental arch, in order to compare it (through the autoptic photos of 1990) with the bite found on Simonetta’s breast: the Busco dental arch integrates with the identification of her DNA on the bodice and bra. On February 3, 2010, the trial of the ex-boy begins, who also experiences new twists: on March 9, a few days after his expected deposition, Pietro Vanacore takes his life. After three degrees of trial, Busco is completely cleared of the charges.