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Horror as woman’s mummified remains found at kitchen table – 2 years after she died

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Marinella Beretta was found by police in her home in Italy, her body mummified after two years of exposure to the air. The new owner, an unnamed Swiss man, was apparently unaware of the dead body in his house. 

After investigating the property, police discovered the elderly woman’s remains.

The house was in Prestino, a district in the city of Como in the north-western Italian region of Lombardy.

The 70-year-old Italian came from the nearby municipality of Erba and reportedly had no living relatives.

She had sold her house but continued to live there under a usufruct agreement.

Police are currently investigating the incident to determine the cause of death.

They have reportedly said that the preliminary hypothesis is that she died alone, and have found nothing to suggest foul play.

The council was expected to pay for her funeral and burial.

It is not yet clear how her body came to be mummified.

While rare, natural mummification can happen in situations of extreme cold, aridity or lack of oxygen.

Elena Bonetti, 47, the Italian Minister for Family and Equal Opportunities, said: “What happened to Mrs Marinella Beretta in Como, the forgotten loneliness, hurts consciences.

“Remembering her life is the duty of a community that wants to stick together.

“We need to not limit our horizons to the private and go back to healing the ties between ourselves.

“Taking care of each other is the experience of families, institutions, and our citizens: no one should be left alone.”

The neighbours, who had not seen Beretta since September 2019, assumed she had moved away at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which hit northern Italy in 2020, the reports said.

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The front page of the Corriere Della Sera, Italy’s biggest selling daily, featured editorialist Massimo Gramellini describing Ms Berretta as “loneliness personified”.

He added: “Many of us still have memories of the chaotic, branched families of peasant Italy. Instead, the modern family is reduced… People die alone. And we live alone, which is almost worse.

“The mystery of Marinella’s invisible life behind the closed gate of her cottage teaches us a terrible lesson.

“The real sadness is not that the others did not notice her death. It is that they did not realise Marinella Beretta was alive.”

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