A 33-year old Italian artist, Giuseppina Pasqualino, also known as Pippa Bacca, was found dead in Turkey on Saturday, after having been raped and murdered. Paqualino was hitchhiking towards Israel dressed in a wedding dress in an appeal for peace.
The woman was last seen on March 31 in the mainly industrial city of Gebze, while hitchhiking to Israel in
the wedding dress as part of her "Brides on Tour" project aiming to plead for peace in conflict areas. She disappeared after using her credit card around noon. Police found her naked body hidden in bushes in a forested area near Gebze, after questioning the man suspected of the murder late Friday, the governor's office said.
Police tracked down the suspect when he switched on Pasqualino's mobile phone, having inserted his own SIM card, an Italian Embassy official said. The official asked not to be named because he was not authorized to give information on the police investigation.
The suspect, identified only by his initials M.K., Had previously been convicted of theft, Anatolia reported. He was being questioned in police custody and no charges had been filed.
According to reports, M.K confessed to having picked up Pasqualino in his car, after which he drove into the forest, where he raped her and strangled her to death. Afterwards he attempted to bury the body.
Pasqualino's fiancé said in an interview that the artist was "very loyal. Unfortunately, she happened to meet the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time." He also commended the Turkish police on a job well done.
The artist's mother said, "We were hoping she had been kidnapped by the Kurdish. We were trying to contact Muslim officials until we found out she had been murdered. We weren't particularly worried because she had been hitchhiking for a lot of time, and thus was capable of avoiding risky situations. She was a determined person when it had to do with working for art."