Morning of September 1st, 2004
Little Denise Pipitone was born on October 26th
Mazara del Vallo (TP),
In the short time her parents were serving lunch, Denise Pipitone, who was
playing just outside the front door, disappeared. It happened around
midday on September 1st,
Mazara del Vallo, near
, in a street named ‘via Domenico
’, at the corner of ‘via Castagnola’, very close to the highway.
Denise followed his cousin around the corner, where her aunt lives. Her
aunt said to have seen her for the last time around 11,45, then Denise
went back towards her house – but never got there. All of this happened
in a few minutes. 90 days after she went missing, exactly on October 18th
security guard noticed a group of nomads
– a man, two women and three kids – in front of the bank where he was
One of the kids looked like Denise Pipitone, and, even though it was a hot
day, was wearing a coat with a hood that concealed her head. The guard
called the police and tried to engage in a conversation with the child,
but the group walked away before the police car could arrive. The security
guard made a few videos with his mobile and delivered them to the examining
magistrates. In one of the videos you can hear the woman (who said
to be the kids’ mother) calling the child by the name of “Danàs”
and the child answering in perfect Italian “Where are you taking me?”.
One short video, no
more than a few seconds of filming, was broadcast on March 20th, Sunday,
the day after Denise’s mum had confirmed her belief that the child in
the video was her daughter. Moreover, the guard noticed the girl had a
scratch under her left eye, just like Denise. Also, from the exams carried
out by RIS (a special unit of Carabinieri for scientific and forensic
investigations), the probability that that child was Denise is very high,
as they found many facial traits the two have in common. It was not
possible to obtain DNA certification, though.
Despite the many pleas by Denise’s mum and the search of the authorities
near all the Rom camps in that area, no-one seems to have seen that woman,
that child and that group, nobody knows anybody. They’ve vanished.
authorities do not think that Denise was kidnapped by the nomads,
but she could have been left in their care from someone else, in a second
phase of the kidnapping. Denise might already be living with another
STORY OF DENISE THE “KIDNAPPED CHILD”
the "Kidnapped Child" >> (pdf)
often asked to talk about the story of Denise.
I thought it appropriate to specify which is the context in
which the events that affected my daughter took place. Denise is a
girl who played and smiled like any other, and loved her family, and
that one day was seized outside her house by a ignoble hand. There
is a social fabric that creates, maintains and protects illegality.
The common opinion about the kidnapping of minors is of course a
strong condemnation. Each one of us is ready to point the finger at
a criminal when he/she is arrested for violating the innocence of a
child or killing her/him. We act, however, only through words. In
fact, the fear of being involved in issues that don’t concern us
contributes to criminal action, and our guilty silence hides and
mystifies the reality of a monster that uses silence to hit the
innocent. Moreover, in some cases the retrograde mentality of
ignorant people justifies who commits evil actions because he/she
thinks to avenge an alleged grievance.
That’s how criminals come to life: the people around them foster,
tolerate and support them. By themselves they are nothing, but
in their mindset they draw full support from those with whom they
have contact - including those who think they have not contributed
to evil just because they have turned their faces away.
The failure to act means to act in their favour, because this
game can be won only by taking a strong position against them, not
by passively staying within the pleasant tranquillity of our homes -
which can be deadly
struck when the criminal picks on us. We let him flourish, and
the fact we did not oppose his existence was not enough to save us.
people like me, every day, fight not only against those who ruined
my life by taking away my daughter - who was everything to me. I
am fighting every day especially against that mentality which subtly
justifies what happened with a sterile conformism which is made by
To make pretty speeches and then pretend not to see and not hear is
useless. We should first ask ourselves whether there exists so great
a wrong that it has to be paid by a child’s life. And so amid the
cautious indifference of many, the one who has done evil walks the
streets in quiet and feels entitled to laugh at the problems he has
caused, surrounded by people who lack any kind of humanity.
Instead of isolating the criminal, he finds the company of the weak,
who let themselves be affected by an apparent safety and become
themselves the emissaries of evil. I'm not afraid to face who
committed acts of such cruelty against me, but I find that to
associate the concept of "human being" to the indifference
of these people is disgusting.
Now that years have passed, their silence is all the more guilty and
their presumption of innocence cannot justify those who did nothing
to help a child. Many children in the world are missing from
home because of unscrupulous criminals.
These children are not able to ask for help, so we must become their
voice, our actions must give them the hope of a return.
Official websites and Blogs about Denise:
Frames from the video and photos of Denise, from the State Police website:
Central Administration of the Criminal Police - Minor Section
Pocket photo English - Age progression 2008 (jpg)
Pocket photo English - Age progression 2008 (pdf)
Poster Missing Denise EUR - Ita-Ing-Fra - Age progression 2008 (jpg)
Poster in English with useful numbers (jpg)
Poster EUR - Age progression 2008 (pdf)
Poster in English with useful numbers IBAN current account (pdf) horizontal sheet
Poster in English with useful numbers IBAN current account (pdf) Bank Account