Giovanni Barreca and two other individuals have been arrested in connection with the murder of Barreca’s wife and two children. Prosecutors are investigating possible links to a sect or religious fanaticism.
“My name is Giovanni Barreca. I killed my entire family. Come and get me.” This chilling call to the police was made Saturday night. Barreca’s demeanour remained composed as he calmly directed investigators to Casteldaccia before hanging up. While one patrol detained the perpetrator, a 54-year-old bricklayer, another rushed to his residence in Altavilla Milicia, a coastal town 30 kilometres from Palermo. The scene they encountered was gruesome.
Police discovered the lifeless bodies of Barreca’s two sons, Emanuel, 5, and Kevin, 16, sprawled on the ground. His 17-year-old daughter was found in a state of shock, having likely witnessed the horrors unfold.
The search for Barreca’s wife, Antonella Salamone, concluded hours later, with charred remnants of her body unearthed not far from their home. Barreca, taken into custody, provided further details, claiming “the devil was in the house.”
Two other individuals apprehended by police in connection with the murder are Sabrina Fina and Massimo Carandente, described as religious zealots.
The trio faces charges of multiple homicide and desecration of a corpse.
Fervent religious obsession
Subsequent investigations revealed Barreca’s fervent religious obsession, stemming from his prior affiliation with an evangelical church. It’s suspected that he carried out the heinous act in a misguided attempt to rid his family of demonic influences, possibly instigated by the couple from Palermo.
Arrests were made in the evening, including Barreca’s daughter, who implicated her father and the couple in conducting an exorcism. Shockingly, the murders didn’t occur overnight as initially speculated. Salamone was the first victim probably killed on Friday. The children are likely to have died the following day. The daughter and Barreca remained in the house for hours beside the bodies before contacting authorities.
While the motive behind the massacre remains unclear, religious fervour appears to have been the driving force. Autopsies will determine the cause of death, with speculation that the children were strangled.
Questions linger regarding why Barreca spared his 17-year-old daughter, his supposed favourite, who displayed confusion upon police arrival, suggesting possible drugging. She has since been placed in a care facility under the Juvenile Prosecutor’s orders.
The small community of Altavilla, where the family resided, is reeling from the tragedy. Despite their religious background, the couple’s financial struggles were known, prompting assistance from the municipality. Social workers never suspected violence within the family.
The town mayor has declared a suspension of carnival events and will declare a day of mourning for the funeral. Relatives expressed bewilderment in interviews, highlighting Barreca’s perceived devoutness and efforts to appease his wife.