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10th Feb 2022

Mummified body of woman dead for two years found sitting at her table

April Curtin

Police and firefighters discovered the mummified body after neighbours raised concerns

Neighbours hadn’t seen her since the start of the pandemic

The mummified body of an elderly woman was discovered sitting at her table where she had died over two years earlier.

Marinella Beretta, 70, lived in Prestino near Lake Como in Italy.

Her body was found by police and firefighters after neighbours spotted unsafe trees on her property during high winds, The Independent reports.

The elderly lady is thought to have had no living relatives.

Neighbours were convinced the 70-year-old had moved out of the house at the start of the pandemic, since they had not seen her since September 2019.

Natural mummification can occur when a dead body is exposed to extreme cold, very dry conditions or some other environmental factor that mitigates against decay, according to LiveScience.

Police have started investigating Beretta’s death but she is believed to have died of natural causes, reports suggest.

Millions of elderly Italians do not have access to a social network

The story has sent shockwaves across Italy, with leaders urging for more to be done to tackle loneliness in the country.

Mario Landriscina, a local mayor, said: “We must become her family and participate as far as possible in the funeral.”

The mayor said Beretta’s death “must be a moment of reflection on an example of loneliness that must really lead us to improve and change certain dynamics”

Posting on social media, Italy’s Family Minister Elena Bonetti, said: “What happened to Mrs Marinella Beretta in Como, the forgotten loneliness, hurts consciences.

“Remembering their life is the duty of a community that wants to stick together. We need to not limit our horizons to the private and go back to healing the ties between ourselves.

“Taking care of each other is the experience of families, institutions, and our citizens: no one has to be left alone.”

Nearly 28 per cent of Italians over the age of 65 live alone, including approximately 1.3 million who do not have access to a social network, according to the Italian National Institute of Statistics.

The Prestino municipality is expected to pay for Beretta’s burial costs.

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