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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 April 2006, 21:55 GMT 22:55 UK
Italians shocked by toddler death
Tommaso Onofri
Tommaso Onofri was taken from his home on 2 March
Italians have expressed shock and revulsion at the death of a kidnapped 18-month-old epileptic boy.

Police found the body of Tommaso Onofri on Saturday, a month after he was snatched from his home near the city of Parma in northern Italy.

Officers were led to his body by one of three suspects they arrested, a builder who had worked for the family.

Italy's President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and Pope Benedict XVI have both condemned the boy's death.

Prayers

A number of prominent politicians have called for the death penalty to be reinstated for the crime.

"Since we heard the news last night, I and my wife have been overcome by a chilling horror that takes one's breath away," President Ciampi said in a statement.

Pope Benedict XVI, who had publicly appealed to the kidnappers to release Tommaso, led prayers for the little boy at his weekly Sunday Angelus session at the Vatican.

Flowers and tributes are left near the spot where Tommaso's body was found
Tommaso's body was discovered in a wood near his home

"We are all shocked by the story of little Tommaso, who was barbarously murdered," he told pilgrims in St Peter's Square.

"Let us pray for him and for all the victims of violence."

According to media reports, one of the arrested men said the baby had been killed within an hour of his abduction because he would not stop crying.

Tommaso was abducted by two masked men wielding an apparent replica gun and a knife.

After he was taken, the toddler's parents appeared on television in an appeal to the kidnappers, saying their son desperately needed medicine to control his epileptic seizures.

Police are currently questioning two men and a woman.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Pope Benedict XVI leads prayers for Tommaso



SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Italy
22 Feb 06 |  Country profiles




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