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Italian Man Says He Killed Family

November 30, 1998

ROME (AP) _ An Italian man confessed on-camera to killing his entire family in 1989, calmly telling interviewers ``it was an act of complete madness″ in footage broadcast on state TV Monday night.

Ferdinando Carretta, 36, said he shot his father, mother and brother at the family’s apartment in the northern city of Parma.

The family _ including Ferdinando _ vanished, apparently while on a camping trip. Their fate was one of Italy’s most enduring mysteries until now.

Ferdinando surfaced by accident in London last week when police stopped him on a routine traffic violation. A computer check showed he was listed as a missing person, and Italian authorities were notified.

On Sunday, he returned to Italy voluntarily and was arrested at the airport on a warrant for triple homicide. Shortly afterward, he confessed to police.

``He couldn’t wait to confess,″ an investigating magistrate, Vittorio Zanichelli, told the Italian news agency ANSA.

It wasn’t his first confession, as things turned out.

A few days before his return, Carretta was interviewed in London by an Italian TV program about missing persons. Parts of the interview were aired on the news Monday night.

``I shot my parents and my brother,″ he said. ``It was an act of madness, an act of complete madness.″

ANSA said Carretta told his interviewers that he hated his father and killed his mother and brother because they were witnesses to his father’s slaying.

Carretta told police he’d taken the bodies to a garbage dump on the banks of a river outside Parma. On Monday, he went with investigators to the huge dump but apparently couldn’t identify the spot where’d he left the bodies.

Investigators planned to bring in technical experts to advise them on how to proceed with the search, ANSA said.

State television said Carretta will undergo a psychiatric examination on Tuesday.

Giuseppe Carretta, 53, his wife Marta Chezzi, 49, and younger son Nicola, 23, were last seen the night of Aug. 4, 1989, preparing to leave on vacation in their camper. The camper was found, empty and abandoned on Nov. 19, 1989, in Milan.

Their disappearance fueled elaborate speculation, including a rumor that Giuseppe Carretta, an accountant, had embezzled a fortune and fled to the Caribbean or South America. But no trace of the family was found.

Suspicion also focused on Ferdinando, who had bought a pistol just before the family disappeared. But he, too, remained missing and the investigation was eventually closed.

Italian newspapers said Carretta lived modestly in a one-room apartment in a blue-collar neighborhood of London under his own name and worked as a messenger for an express delivery service.