Family on the run over teen’s disappearance in Italy

Picture showing men with a spade

Relatives of an 18-year-old woman are being investigated on suspicion of murder after she disappeared from the family home in northern Italy.

Police say Saman Abbas’s family had wanted her to travel to Pakistan for an arranged marriage, which she refused last year. A cousin has been arrested in France and extradited to Italy.

The missing woman’s uncle and another cousin are missing, her parents have reportedly travelled to Pakistan. Prosecutors suspect all five of murder and disposing of a body, although no remains have yet been found.

Speaking to an Italian journalist after Saman Abbas’s disappearance, her father claimed she had travelled to Belgium.

According to Italian media, she had lived under the protection of social services since October, but returned to the family home in Novellara, near Parma, in late April.

Prosecutor Isabella Chiesi said authorities believed she had been tricked into returning home. She said there was no hope of a positive outcome to the case, which she described as premeditated murder.

Police have been searching farmland near Novellara for the young woman since early May and have begun using electro-magnetic sensors to search the soil more thoroughly.

They have released CCTV footage from 29 April – the day before authorities believe she was murdered – which they say shows three of the suspects walking with spades, a crowbar and a blue bag.

The following day, separate footage shows the missing teenager leaving the house with her parents.

Last week, Italy’s union of Islamic communities (UCOII) issued a fatwa (religious ruling) rejecting forced marriages in response to Saman Abbas’s disappearance.

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