Page last updated at 10:58 GMT, Wednesday, 28 April 2010 11:58 UK

Brother confirms identity of Dorset murder link body

Elisa Claps
Sixteen-year-old Elisa Claps disappeared in Potenza in 1993

The family of a 16-year-old whose 1993 disappearance in Italy could be linked to the murder of a Dorset woman confirm a body found belonged to the girl.

The remains were found bricked into a church roof in Potenza, where Italian teenager Elisa Claps lived, in March.

Dorset Police have been to Italy many times to investigate a possible link with the unsolved murder of Heather Barnett in Bournemouth, in 2002.

Miss Claps's brother said DNA proved the body in the church was his sister.

It is also understood that Miss Claps had been stabbed in the chest more than once and then suffocated, BBC South Home Affairs Correspondent Damon Embling said.

Cut hair strands

Dorset detectives are watching the current investigations in Italy very closely.

Ms Barnett was stabbed at her home in Capstone Road, Charminster, in 2002 and her body left mutilated.

She was found dead in her bathroom by her two children, then aged 14 and 11, after they returned home from school.

Strands of someone else's cut hair had been placed in her hands, and it is this fact which has produced possible links to the case of Miss Claps.

Women have come forward both in Bournemouth and in Potenza, saying they have had their hair cut in suspicious circumstances.

Heather Barnett's daughter Caitlin said her mother was a caring person

Supt Mark Cooper, of Dorset Police, said: "I think it's important to say that we are working very closely with the Italian authorities.

"Somebody somewhere knows who's responsible for this and they need to come forward, they need to speak to us.

"If you're responsible you need to come and speak to us.

"This investigation is never closed for us."

The church where the remains were found in Italy is the same place that Miss Claps was last seen in September 1993.

Post-mortem examination results have yet to be made public.

Italian police believe one of the last people to see Miss Claps alive was Danilo Restivo, who lived in the same town in Italy.

Mr Restivo who now lives in Charminster, Bournemouth, has also been questioned by Dorset Police over Heather Barnett's murder.

He has denied knowing anything about either case.

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