Italy -- 1893 - October 15th 1970
|Leonarda Cianciulli - From the Italy Wiki|
Leonarda married Raffaele Pansardi in 1914. She had 17 pregnancies; 3 miscarried, 10 of the children died at young ages and the remaining 4 she was compelled to protect, since she had had her fortune told by a gypsy who warned her that all her children would die.
In 1939 her oldest son, Giuseppe, joined the army. In order to keep him alive, Leonarda started doing what she thought best: making human sacrifices.
The woman had three female friends, all lonely and who had asked her at some point or another to help them. They wished to escape from the grinding life that Correggio offered.
The oldest woman was Faustina Setti. She was promised a husband in Pola and told to keep it a secret. Leonarda had her write postcards and letters before she left telling friends and family that all was well. She was instructed to mail them on arrival in Pola. And then, before even getting a chance to leave, Leonarda killed her with an axe, cut her body into nine pieces, and gathered her blood into a basin.
Her body was dissolved in caustic soda and dumped into a septic tank. Her blood was used to make tea cakes, which Leonarda served visitors, as well as fed to Giuseppe.
Francesca Soavi was promised a job at an all girls school in Piacenza in the same way that Faustini had been. She was to keep it under wraps, write the postcards, mail them when she arrived. On September 5th 1939 she went to bid her friend and rescuer farewell. Leonarda killed her and sacrificed her.
Virginia Cacioppo had been an opera singer in her past. At 53, she was reduced to living an impoverished life in Correggio. Leonarda promised her a job in Florence and the woman accepted, under the terms that she could not tell a soul. On 30th September 1939, she too, ended up a sacrifice.
Leonarda turned her body into bar soap, which she gifted to neighbors and acquaintances. She also said, after her capture, that her friend had been much sweeter in the cakes than the others.
Virginia had a sister-in-law, who became suspicious of her disappearance. She had last been seen going into Leonarda's house. The sister-in-law went to the police with this information.
The murderess, when questioned, immediately admitted to the murders. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison and 3 years in a criminal asylum. She died in Puzzuoli, in the women's asylum, in 1970, struck down by cerebal apoplexy.
For more information:
The Italy Wiki