Transcript: 192. The Haircut Killer, Danilo Restivo | Italy/England

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The beautiful, picturesque hilltop village of Potenza in Southern Italy was established in the 4th Century as a Roman settlement. With its narrow cobblestone streets and charming architecture, it is every bit a picture postcard Italian town. 


When police received multiple strange reports in 1992, they didn’t quite know what to make of it. One woman after the other told the same story, of someone cutting locks of hair while they were using public transport, mostly buses and trains. Most of the women did not notice it immediately, only later.


A local man was suspected of these odd crimes, but Italian police didn’t feel they had enough proof to arrest him.


Then, 10 years later, and more than 1000 miles away… The same weird incidences were being reported in Bournemouth, England. Like their Italian counterparts, English police began receiving reports from women about their hair being cut while they were on trains and buses. 


But then a woman’s body was found in Bournemouth, holding a lock of another woman’s hair in her hand. Many years later, British police learnt that there had been a similar case in Italy. Both English and Italian police homed in on the same killer – an awkward man, with a very strange fetish.

>>Intro Music

In the spring of 2002, Dorset police began receiving reports of someone cutting locks off women’s hair on buses and trains in and around Bournemouth. These bizarre incidences seemed to target women at random. The only common denominator being that they were all female, and it always happened on public transport. Altogether, Bournemouth police received reports from 15 women and girls who had had their hair cut. One witness identified the man who had cut her hair but police didn’t feel they had enough evidence to prosecute him and he was not charged at this time.


Heather Barnett was a hardworking single mother, who worked from home, as a seamstress. She cared for her 14-year-old son Terry and 11-year-old daughter, Caitlin and they lived in Bournemouth.


Sadly, on November 2002, a gruesome tragedy took place inside the Barnett home. When Heather’s children arrived home from school in the afternoon, they discovered their mother’s mutilated body on the bathroom floor. In shock and horror, they ran outside, screaming for help. A neighbour who lived across the street heard the commotion and took Terry and Caitlin to her home, where, together with her live-in boyfriend, comforted them and let them use their phone to call the police. Here is a snippet of Heather’s son’s desperate phone call:


Terry: I need an ambulance. I need police.

Operator: I’ve got officers on route. What’s happened?

Terry: My mom has just been murdered. This is not a joke.

Operator: Right. Is that your mom I can hear in the background?

Terry: That’s my blooming sister.

Operator: So where is your mother then?

Terry: She’s lying in the bathroom on her back.

Operator: And what’s happened to her?

Terry: She’s bloody had pieces cut off her for God’s sake.

Operator: Right, now who’s done that?

Terry: I don’t know!


Police arrived moments later and found no signs of forced entry at the scene of the crime. Heather’s blood-soaked body was lying on the bathroom floor. The attack took place on one side of the house, where she received multiple blows to the head, inflicted with a hammer. She was then dragged to the other side of the house where her body was mutilated. Her throat had been cut from ear to ear and her breasts had been sliced off and left on the floor beside her head – a breast placed next to each ear. Her pants had also been pulled down. Police found a lock of Heather’s hair was cut off and placed in her left hand. Curiously, a lock of someone else’s hair was placed in her right hand.


Heather’s time of death was established to be shortly after she dropped her children off at school in the morning. This would have given the killer the maximum amount of time before the children returned home from school. And he took his time killing her, mutilating her body and posing it. 


Crime scene investigators found a clear footprint in Heather’s blood, next to her body. They were able to link the sneaker print to a specific type of Nike trainer, sized between 9.5 and 10.5. Due to the size of the footprints and manner of the mutilation of the body, police suspected the killer was a man. 


Police found a green hand towel with Heather’s blood on it inside her home. Heather’s children claimed that the towel did not belong to their home. Was this left on purpose or was the killer just careless? Except for this potentially damning piece of evidence, there weren’t many clues. The murder was planned with a chilling level of detail and precision.


Police believed the suspect lived in close proximity to Heather, because no one noticed any strangers around the area that morning. It seemed as if the killer knew Heather’s routine for the timing of the attack, a neighbour, a friend or relative perhaps. Investigators also theorised that the murderer brought a change of clothing with him, including a change of shoes, so that he wouldn’t leave the apartment covered in blood, and raising suspicion. Chillingly, this was the second murder in an otherwise-safe neighbourhood in four months. 

On the July, a Korean student by the name of Jong-Ok Shin, known as Oki, was stabbed as she was walking home after a night out. The attack took place two blocks away from Heather’s residence. Oki was taken to the local hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries. Before she passed away, Oki told the doctor that she was attacked by a man wearing a ‘black mask’. 


Six weeks later, police arrested a local heroin addict, Omar Neguit, and he was sentenced to life in prison for Oki’s murder. Because Neguit was already incarcerated at the time of Heather’s murder, police did not believe the cases were linked. It was considered a tragic coincidence that both women had stab-wounds on their bodies, made with a long thin knife blade.


Shortly after Heather Barnett’s murder, police interviewed all of her neighbours, including a man by the name of Danilo Restivo. They had heard his name before – a female commuter had accused him of cutting a piece of her hair on public transport. And this piqued their interest, because of the locks of hair placed in Heather’s hands. 


Restivo arrived in Bournemouth, England in May 2002. At the time, Bournemouth was said to be the happiest place in all of Great Britain to live. Restivo took odd jobs and made enough money to get by. He rented a room from an older woman who he met online, and soon the pair became romantically involved. His new lodging was across the road from Heather Barnett’s home. And it was Restivo’s landlady who was the first to react after Heather’s children discovered her body. No other neighbours had seen or heard anything unusual on the day of the murder, however.


Restivo admitted to knowing Heather and having been inside her home as she was making some curtains for him. Police would later discover emails on Heather’s laptop – from Heather to her sister – in which she commented on a client she was having difficulties with. The client allegedly wanted custom curtains made but didn’t really know what he wanted and kept changing his mind. In the email, Heather also noted that after the visit from said client, her spare set of home keys had gone missing, and she had suspected he had taken them. The client Heather was referring to in her email was none other than her neighbour, Danilo Restivo.


As a client, Restivo freely admitted that he had been inside Heather’s home. But his reason for visiting was strange. He rented a room in his lover’s house, why would he want custom curtains made? Was this just an excuse to get close to Heather?


Heather’s children flagged the issue of the missing house keys with police – this could have explained the fact that there were no signs of forced entry at the scene. Could Restivo have taken the keys when he visited Heather to discuss the curtains, she was making for him, as she had suspected?


When asked about the missing keys, Restivo denied any knowledge of it, and was quick to offer an alibi for his whereabouts at the time of the murder. In fact, he still had the bus ticket for that day as proof. At the time of the murder, Restivo was attending a training course in information technology. He generally left home around 9am as the course started at 9:30am. Heather was murdered between 9:30 and 10:30. Police investigated the venue where the training took place and found that all attendees had to sign in on a register. Restivo had signed in that day and noted the time, but the time seemed to have been altered, like he had initially written down a different number, perhaps the actual time, and then later changed it to 9:00am. A digital forensics expert also made an ‘evidential capture’ of the computer he claimed to be working on at the training centre the morning of Heather’s murder and found there was no user activity between 9:08am and 10:10am. This combined evidence immediately cast doubt on Restivo’s alibi. 


The police were also conscious that the bus ticket could have been obtained by Restivo that morning as he had said, and that he could have climbed off at the next stop and walked the short distance, back to Heather’s house. 


Police viewed CCTV footage and identified Heather driving back home at 9:30am after dropping her kids off at school, and around 10:15am, a man is seen running down the road towards the bus stop with his hoodie pulled up, over his head. Due to the quality of the image, police can’t say for sure if the man in the CCTV is Danilo Restivo or not. The timing however does tie into a theory: did Restivo wait for Heather to come home at 9:30am, kill her, posed her body, attempted to clean the crime scene, then ran to the bus at 10:15am. He then arrived at his training, wrote down his name and the actual time in the roster, then realised he had to change the time and backdate it to 9:00am to ensure an alibi.


During a police interview at Restivo’s home, a detective asked to see Restivo’s shoes and found that his Nike shoes were soaking in a bucket of bleach in the bathtub. When questioned about it, Restivo’s behaviour became suspicious, and he could not provide a rational explanation other than he was cleaning his shoes and so police seized the sneakers for forensic analysis. The bloody footprints in Heather’s home were tested against the prints from Restivo’s seized Nike’s, but they did not match. But police were highly suspicious of Restivo, and he was placed firmly on their radar as a probable suspect in Heather’s murder. 


They decided to look into his background in Italy and found out that he was suspected of cutting women’s hair on public transport there too – as far back as 1992. Potenza woman, Angela Campochiaro, reported that she had a 10cm strand of her hair cut without consent. Eventually, another 12 other women came forward to report similar incidences, all of which took place on public transport. Rumours of a man cutting women’s hair on trains and buses quickly spread, however few believed this bizarre claim and thought that it was an urban legend. 


Flowing hair is traditionally a symbol of the female beauty. There was however a certain deep, dark, and sinister undertone to the hair cutting – someone was stalking their next haircutting prey, someone was taking something from a woman without their permission, someone was presumably taking the woman’s hair to their home, smelling it, caressing it. It was as if having a lock of hair somehow linked the attacker to his female victims, a strange fetish indeed.


Although Restivo was widely believed to have been the person responsible for the unsolicited haircutting, he never admitted to it and was never charged. However, it was later revealed that Restivo kept a diary, which became known as the ‘Diary of Horrors’. This wasn’t your typical diary, but rather a record of Restivo recounting the incidents of women catching his attention and he then catalogued their hair. He was a predator, a stalker who stepped over the line, taking an intimate keepsake from his victims.


So, who was Danilo Restivo, and why were people so quick to believe that he was the creepy public transport haircutter?


Danilo Restivo was born onApril 1972 in Sicily, Italy. At the age of 10, he moved with his family to Potenza, Italy where he grew up with his father, mother, and sister. The Restivo family were well known an highly respected within the community and they had many important friends and religious connections in their new hometown. The Restivo’s were close personal friends with the parish priest of the local church, the Church of the Most Holy Trinity. The priest even attended Danilo’s eighteenthbirthday party. 


In stark contrast to the rest of his family, Danilo had always been a social outcast. He would mostly play by himself and was often picked on by other children. Even in early adulthood, he didn’t really have any friends and exhibited disturbing behaviour. Danilo was a lonely boy who displayed worrying signs of a sadistic personality from a young age. When he was only 14 he tied up two younger boys in the courtyard outside the library where his father worked and tortured them by inflicting small cuts with a knife. The issue was resolved between the parents – and the police were never informed.


At the age of 20, he was accused of harassing young girls in the neighbourhood, but nothing was ever done to stop him. Friends and neighbours generally felt that he was a weird kid and avoided him if they could.


When Restivo signed up for his national military service, doctors performed a routine medical and psychological examination. They found that he exhibited a strange attitude towards sexual behaviour and because of that, he was prohibited from enlisting.


In Restivo’s diary, he wrote about his difficulty in forming relationships, and his internal conflicts in connecting with women and younger girls. The Restivo family, however, seemed reluctant to seek help for him. They were determined to protect their proud family reputation. To address his strange behaviours they opted to hide him from the world, rather than asking for professional help. 


So, the troubled boy grew into a man who acted awkwardly in social situations and had great difficulty relating to women. In 1995, when Danilo was 23, he became the prime suspect in the disappearance of Elisa Claps, then aged 16, from outside the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Potenza. 


Elisa Claps was the youngest of three children to her father, a local tobacconist, and her mother who worked as a clerk. She grew up in a happy Catholic family with strong religious values and dreamed of becoming a doctor one day. She was warm-hearted and very sweet – a classic ‘good girl’ who’s daily routine and life revolved around church. She sang in the choir and was much loved by her peers at school. She was young, innocent and naïve, and quick to trust people.


On a beautiful autumn Sunday, September 1993 – Elisa had planned to join her family for lunch at the Claps family’s country house. On her way there, she had agreed to quickly meet 23-year-old Danilo Restivo outside her church, the Church of Holy Trinity, just after the 11:30am mass.


Restivo and Elisa weren’t really friends, but they knew each other. Restivo liked Elisa and she was too nice to say no when he wanted to meet. She knew that he didn’t really have any friends and felt bad for him, so she took pity on him.


What she didn’t realise was that Restivo had become infatuated with her. He had asked her out many times before, and she always said no. Still, things remained polite between them. But Restivo decided it was time to change tactics, and told her that he no longer liked her romantically, and only wanted to be friends. In fact, he confessed that he was interested in one of her friends and wanted to talk to her about it. Elisa was somewhat relieved and agreed to meet Restivo outside the safest place she knew, her church. She was happy to help him with his pursuit of her friend’s affection.  He had also told her that he had bought her a present for passing her recent exams.


Sadly, after this meeting, Elisa would never be seen alive again.


Elisa’s brother knew about her plans, so when she didn’t arrive for lunch that afternoon, he went to the Church of the Holy Trinity where Elisa was supposed to have met Restivo to look for Elisa, but the door to the upper levels of the church was locked. The only person with the key was the priest, Don Mimi Sabia, a friend of the Restivo family who had left town for a few days to attend a retreat. Elisa’s brother approached Restivo, who didn’t really have a straight answer as to Elisa’s whereabouts – he claimed to have seen Elisa leave the church, but that he remained there to pray. Restivo shrugged off Elisa’s disappearance and speculated that something must have happened to her on her way home. 


Elisa’s family reported her disappearance to local police, who were not concerned. She was a teenager and the thinking was that teenagers do silly things, like run away from home. When Elisa’s brother tried to contact Restivo again, Mr and Mrs Restivo told him that Danilo was no longer in Potenza, and that he had left Potenza to go back to university. 


When there was still no sign of Elisa after a few days, the police grew concerned and finally decided to look into the case. She was last seen entering the church where she had agreed to meet Restivo, but she was never seen leaving the church and never returned home. 


Police questioned Danilo Restivo, who claimed that, after leaving the church, he had an accident. He fell while crossing a building site on the side of the road on his way home. According to Restivo, he cut his hand on some scrap metal and sought medical attention for his injury. Police were suspicious and Restivo didn’t suffer any other injuries from his fall, and contacted the doctor who treated him. The doctors report, suggested that Restivo’s injury looked like a cut from a knife.


While Restivo was being interviewed, police officers visited the Restivo family home and asked Restivo’s father for the clothes Danilo was wearing on the evening he met Elisa. He gave them clean clothes, but police noticed washing hanging on the line outside. The officer asked about the clothes on the washing line, but the family refused to hand these over as police did not have a search warrant.


This threw a shadow of suspicion over the Restivo family, who from the beginning, appeared to be hiding something.


The Church of the Holy Trinity was searched three times by police. But the searches were always conducted per Restivo’s version of events – the police only searched the locations where Restivo said he had been with Elisa inside the church. It was an old, large church complex with many rooms, and investigators neglected to search the entire property.


As time went by, the police investigation focused more and more on Danilo Restivo, and all evidence collected pointed in his direction. Police continued to question Restivo but didn’t have any solid evidence that he was involved in Elisa’s disappearance. He insisted that he was innocent and did not yield to circumstantial evidence or police theories presented to him. 


Three years after Elisa went missing, however, Restivo was convicted for lying to a judge about his movements on the day of her disappearance. He was sentenced to 20 months in prison, and no further legal action was taken against him. As his sentence was less than two years, it was automatically converted to a suspended sentence and Restivo remained a free man.


It was widely believed that Restivo was responsible for Elisa’s disappearance and that he had murdered her and hidden her body. But without the body, it was near impossible to build a case. The case would remain unsolved for 17 years. Restivo eventually left Potenza and travelled around Europe for years before settling in England to start a new life.


In England, Restivo became romantically involved with his landlady, who was much older than him. This suited him well, seeing as he tended to avoid contact with women closer in age to him – they were far too intimidating for the socially awkward Restivo. Instead, he found comfort being around older women, where he used his childlike charm to win them over.


Seven years after Elisa’s disappearance, and with British Police aware of Restivo’s alleged hair fetish which linked him to the Heather’s murder with the hair placed in her hand, they still didn’t feel they had enough evidence to charge him with Heather’s murder. Investigators were also aware of Restivo being the subject of ongoing inquiry into Elisa Claps’ disappearance in Italy, British police opened a line of communication with Italian police.


Devon police placed Restivo under surveillance, around the clock. They followed him to a park where many women went to walk their dogs. He was filmed watching women walk by, hidden behind bushes, crouching in dense vegetation and also following them, all without their knowledge. Police found his behaviour highly suspicious. On a warm day where the police watching him had to even keep their window open for some cool air, he was wearing clothing suitable for a much colder day, with a thick sweater and the zipper pulled right up and gloves – as if to be covering as much as possible to protect potential forensic evidence from escaping. All of a sudden, as if something had spooked him, he stopped, stood up and started walking to his car while taking off his gloves. The undercover officers broke cover and took Restivo back to his car which they then searched. Inside the car they found a backpack, and inside the backpack was a murder-kit of sorts: a 6-inch filleting knife, two pairs of scissors, gloves, wipes and tissues, and a black balaclava. Police seized the backpack and let him go while they investigated further.


Police still didn’t believe they had enough evidence to arrest Restivo, but he remained their prime suspect for a total of eight years. During this time, despite still being under police surveillance, further reports of hair cutting incidents were still being made to police. A woman who witnessed a man cutting a women’s hair on a bus in 2004 later identified Restivo as the man who did it, but he was not charged.  


After the murder of Heather Barnett, forensics had investigated the DNA of strands of hair found in Heather’s right hand. To assist with the investigation, all women who had had their hair cut whilst on public transport were invited to come forward on an English TV program in the hope of linking Heather’s murder to the hair cutting perpetrator. Many women came forward, but police were unable to link the hair cutter with Heather’s murder. 


Forensics didn’t find any DNA or fingerprints at the crime scene. They did however find dark fibres on Heather’s body and around the apartment. It is thought that these fibres came from gloves which the killer had worn whilst inside the house.  


In November 2006 police arrested and questioned Restivo, and he confirmed again that he was inside Heather’s home days before the murder as Heather was making him a set of curtains. However, he denied having any involvement in Heather’s murder. He also denied being the one responsible for cutting strangers hair on buses and trains. Restivo was eventually released.


After Heather Barnett’s murder, a green towel containing the victim’s blood was also found at the murder scene. Heather’s children confirmed that the green towel didn’t belong to them and so police presumed it must have belonged to the killer – perhaps the murderer brought it with to clean the crime scene. Fast forward a few years, and due to breakthroughs in forensic technology, scientists using a new technique were able to extract Restivo’s DNA from the towel. When confronted with the new evidence, Restivo used the excuse that he had taken the towel over to Heather’s house as a colour match for the curtains he had commissioned her to make for him, but police did not believe him.


A new forensic technique was also used to re-examine his Nike trainers which were found in a bucket of bleach in his bathtub. A chemical was sprayed onto the inner soles of the Nike trainers. It immediately came up as purple indicating that Restivo had placed his blood-soaked feet into the shoes. 


It seemed as though Restivo was knowledgeable in forensic capabilities of the time but could not foresee future developments in technology, which eventually assisted police in building their case against him. 


Back in Italy, nearly 20 years after Elisa Claps’ disappearance, on March 2010, police finally had a breakthrough in her case. Builders working on the roof of the Church of the Holy Trinity Church found human remains in the roof of the attic – a mummified body covered by tiles and other debris. The young female body had been mutilated, her pants were pulled down and she was clasping hair in one of her hands. These remains were confirmed to be those of Elisa Claps. 


This discovery was a definitive turning point in the cases of both Elisa Claps and Heather Barnett. Italian police contacted the British police with the details in the development of the disappearance, and confirmed murder, of Elisa Claps.  


British police received special permission to use the new forensic evidence gathered from the green towel from Heather Barnett’s crime scene, and Restivo’s Nike trainers. They were also permitted to include further evidence gathered from the Italian investigation after the discovery of Elisa Claps’ body. 


With the details of both murders being so similar, English police finally arrested Restivo for the murder of Heather Barnett. Italian police also then charged Restivo with the murder of Elisa Claps.


The unique similarities surrounding the details of the two murders helped link the killer to both murders. The women’s bras had both been cut off, their bodies had been mutilated by a knife or blade, their pants had been pulled down and both had locks of someone else’s hair placed in their hands.  


Elisa’s clothes were cut in an almost ritualistic manner and with great precision. Police believed he used a pair of scissors. Could these have been the same scissors he used to cut women’s hair on buses and trains all those years ago in Potenza? 


Elisa was probably killed by scissors or another sharp object. Restivo’s DNA was also later found on the sweater of Elisa Claps. Even after Elisa’s body was found and British police presented him with the overwhelming evidence linking the two murders, Restivo continued to maintain his innocence. 


Restivo stood trial for Heather Barnett’s murder in the town of Winchester, England in May 2010. During the trial in England, Restivo finally admitted to having a hair fetish. He faced the jury and admitted that he was a ‘weirdo’, confirming that he got gratification from cutting women’s hair.


He was found guilty of the murder of Heather Barnett and sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of 40 years. Italian prosecutors had also begun the process of bringing Restivo to justice for the murder of Elisa Claps. The Italian judge pronounced Restivo guilty of the murder and sentenced him to 30 years in prison. The verdict has been appealed and is still awaiting the final verdict from the Italian Court of Appeal which has not been ruled yet. After this appeal is decided, there will be no more avenues for Restivo to take to escape his judgement in Italy.


Combining both English and Italian prison sentences, Restivo will spend the remainder of his life in prison. Having first being sentenced in England, the English judge said: 


“You are not to come out of prison again. You are a recidivist, a vicious, cold, and calculating murdered who killed Heather in the same way as you killed Elisa Claps. You deserve to be in prison for life…”


After the trial, Heather’s brother, Ben Barnett stated:


“[Restivo] would have spoken to the children, because they knew him as a neighbour. He is a callous and calculating person. He left Heather for her children to find and made sure he was the person who tried to comfort them. I will never understand that…. Restivo has already had eight years of freedom that my sister never had. I’ve thought about the death penalty, but I think it’s too good for him. It seems like the easy way out. I think he’s going to have a miserable rest of his life in prison.”


It was thought that Restivo made advances on Elisa on the day he met her outside the church and that she did not reciprocate his affections. He’s inability to tolerate rejection led to frustration which then led to Elisa’s death. If he was rejected, he felt as though he didn’t deserve to exist, and he’d rather put an end to Elisa’s life to protect himself from the hurt of the rejection. It was believed that Restivo had a homicidal urge linked to being rejected by women. Did Heather Barnett also reject his advances?


Revisiting Jong-Ok ‘Oki’ Shin’s murder, it is hard to ignore similarities to Elisa and Heather’s murders. All three women were small, had dark hair and were attacked from behind. A lock of someone else’s hair was found on the ground next to a blood stain at Oki’s murder scene. The weapon used in Oki’s murder fits the pathologist’s description of the murder weapon used to kill Heather – which fits the description of the 6-inch knife found in Restivo’s car. Police also found a black balaclava among Restivo’s belongings – could this be the ‘black mask’ which Oki referred to in her dying statement to the doctor treating her in the hospital? 


Bizarrely, Elisa, Heather, and Oki were all murdered on the 12day of the month. The day that police followed Restivo into a park and broke cover and found a ‘murder kit’ in Restivo’s car, was also the of the this just a coincidence?


Omar Neguit, the person convicted of Oki’s murder, although facing possible parole if he admits to the crime, has always maintained his innocence, and has stated that he’d rather die in jail than confess to a murder he didn’t commit. Does this push the spotlight back onto Restivo being Oki’s murderer? Many believe so.


A recent documentary entitled “Unsolved: The Man With no Alibi” examines new evidence which could give Omar an alibi which he needs to prove his innocence. 20 years after the crime, Omar still maintains his innocence. 


Prosecutors never charged Restivo with Oki’s murder, because it was more opportunistic than the others. Elisa’s and Heather’s murders were planned. But was Oki perhaps Restivo’s second victim, and was he interrupted before he could complete his planned murder? Neighbours heard Oki scream, could this have frightened Restivo off? And if he is responsible for Oki’s murder – are there more victims we don’t know about?


But why did it take nearly 20 years to solve Elisa’s case and bring Restivo to justice? Had her body been found sooner at the last place she was seen alive, Heather and possibly Oki could still have been alive. Some feel policing mistakes were made, while others claim that the parish priest of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Don Mimi, has much to answer for.


Why wasn’t there a thorough search done of the entire church? This was after all the place where Elisa was last seen before her disappeared. And why did police initially suspect a voluntary disappearance? They thought that Elisa had merely run away from home – why wasn’t it taken more seriously?


Elisa Claps’ mother places much blame on the parish priest for denying her access to search the church herself, and only allowing police in areas where Restivo had said they had been. Police requested full access to the church from the priest but, but Don Mimi obstructed the investigation and twice denied police entry into the rest of the church and they did not press the matter any further. Don Mimi was very friendly with the Restivo family and can be seen in photographs at Danilo Restivo’s 18th birthday party. His church, where Elisa was last seen, was also the only church in Potenza not to ring their bells for Elisa on the 10-year anniversary of her disappearance. Don Mimi who has since passed away, has taken any possible knowledge of what happened on the day of Elisa’s murder with him to the grave. 


The question remains: Why was the door to the next floor in the church locked when Elisa’s brother went looking for her, and is it a coincidence that the priest left town after she came up missing? Was the priest of Church of Holy Trinity either directly or indirectly responsible for allowing Elisa’s killer to go free to kill again? This, we’ll never know.


What is clear is that Elisa entered the church on that fateful day, but never left. Secrets will always surround the events of that tragic day. The final question to be asked is, are there any other murders that we just haven’t yet linked to Danilo Restivo.


Restivo will never again be a free man and still claims his innocence to this day – but two courts in two different countries say otherwise. Sadly, no matter how severe the punishment, nothing will bring back 16-year-old Elisa, with her life ahead of her, nor will it bring back Heather to her children. An awkward man with a strange fetish thought he could get away with murder, but in the end, his salacious urges made him come undone.


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