Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Monster of Florence

New Suspects

In August 2001, investigators again reopened inquiries into the Monster of Florence murders.  While detectives are reluctant to discuss many of the details, they have said there are new suspects.  A source close to the public prosecutors office has stated that the police now believe that a group of 10 to 12 wealthy, sophisticated Italians orchestrated the ritualized murders over the course of three decades and got away with it.  Investigators surmise that the religious sect required nighttime executions of courting couples, followed by mutilation with the help of a .22 Beretta revolver and a surgical knife.

As investigators began removing their original files from storage, they were tipped off by a series of undisclosed anonymous letters, which are believed to name some of the suspects, including an unknown doctor and a Swiss artist.  The artist reportedly left the area in 1997, but police are said to have drawings he made of mutilated women and newspaper clippings he had saved.

One month later, in September 2001, Florence investigators raided the homes and offices of Aurelio Mattei, a psychologist with the Sisde Secret Service, and Francesco Bruno, Italy's leading criminal psychologist.  Computer disks, books and notes about the killings were confiscated, and both men were questioned relentlessly for more than nine hours.  While neither man has been deemed a suspect in the murders, detectives believe they may have withheld critical evidence from the original investigation.

Regardless of these new revelations, Vanni and Lotti remain incarcerated and investigators are continuing to keep a tight lid on their new investigation.  The Monster of Florence murders remain a mystery.