Milena Sutter vanished in May 6th, 1971, in Genoa (Italy). Was it really a kidnapping?
As we already know, on May 6, 1971, Milena Sutter’s disappearance caused shock.
Immediately, the first thought was kidnapping and not a voluntary escape.
There was a suspect and several doubts about motive, but the first evidence came up on the morning of May 7: the supposed kidnapper phoned the Sutter family’s number, twice.
What I’m going to tell you add to the story new characters, who will have important roles: Arturo Sutter, the father of Milena, Luigi Calanchi, the police marshal, and Angelo Costa, the chief of police team and the lead investigator.
Milena Sutter, a vanished girl: the phone call
The day after Milena’s disappearance, at 9.34 a.m., the Sutter telephone rang and Arturo answered.
A male voice spelled out: “If you want to see Milena alive, fifty million first flowerbed in Corso Italia”.
He repeated the same sentence three times, and said no more.
Both the motive and the ransom seem quite clear.
On the contrary, there are many aspects that change the whole story. Now we’re gradually going to find them out.
First, that was an official statement of Marshal Calanchi. He was there at the time of the call, as responsible for bringing the telephone under control.
So the call would be recorded.
But there is another official and reliable version: that is of Arturo Sutter. He stated that he received the phone call at 10.40 a.m.
The same time is also reported in the newspapers. Corriere Mercantile highlighted: “This morning, at 10.40 a.m., a male voice phone in Sutter’s house [ … ]”.
While on 8 May Il Secolo XIX, during an interview with Mr. Sutter, quoted: “It is kidnapping. About the phone call yesterday, it received at the villa about ten […]”.
Mr. Sutter didn’t deny or change the time. Why?
Was his uncertain answers because his understandable twisted emotional state considering the dramatic situation?
The testimonies are believable, but in clear contradiction to each other.
Two different times were declared, with the difference about one hour. Then, how is it possible to check what was really the time of the phone call?
As previously mentioned, the police brought the home phone under control, a common practice when it dealing with a kidnapping case.
It is also true that we are talking about a time when the technical equipment was quite different from the current one.
The call was intercepted, but unfortunately the electromechanical telephone system of 70s was not as accurate as the electronic one of today.
Consequently, there are no official documents certifying the exact time we want to know, but the bug is justified by a “technical failure”.
In conclusion: we have two different declared times for a phone call, which was received but not correctly recorded.
The wrong phone call to Milena’s grandfather
Let’s take a step back. We know that the alleged kidnapper made a call to Sutter’s house.
Before that, there was another one: at the house of Milena’s grandfather, Adolfo Sutter.
He explained to the anonymous that he had the wrong number. After that, he hurried to warn his son, who lived in the house opposite, and the marshal there.
From this, we can understand that the first real call was made to the wrong person and before the official one.
The only explanation for this oversight is that the kidnapper missed the name from the phone book: in alphabetical order, Adolfo comes first Arturo.
Obviously, it was impossible to track the call as the telephone under control was that of Arturo Sutter.
Reporting a map of the area with Adolfo Sutter’s villa, on May 15 Il Secolo XIX quoted: “It was the grandfather who first received the phone call on Friday morning. The unknown got wrong”.
And again, on June 1, the same newspaper pointed out: “Unfortunately, the most important calls are missing: the first received Friday (May 7, 1971) from Milena’s grandfather and father […]. When the second came, the technicians were working to connect the telephone recorder”.
The fact that there actually was the call to grandfather, which was also reported by the media – according to reliable sources -, doesn’t mean that it was taken into account by the investigators.
It is an episode that doesn’t official exist, so it’s like it didn’t happen.
Milena Sutter’s case: the call analysis
The doubts are not over, if we analyze better the phone call content we find out more.
In an interview given to Il Secolo XIX, Arturo Sutter stated: “On the other end of the call there was a guy with an incomprehensible voice”.
Milena’s father wasn’t certain of the words he heard.
Moreover, he wasn’t even sure about the specific request of the 50 million in old Lire or whether it was addressed directly to him.
Even the lead investigator Costa agreed with what Mr. Sutter said.
In an interview with the same newspaper on May 14, in fact, he affirmed: “It was a bit quick request. [ … ] Since then no one showed up”, confirming the uncertainty of the claim of money.
Again, a disagreement with what was stated at the beginning: for Mr. Sutter and Costa the voice was incomprehensible and the request rushed, while according to Calanchi who spoke was precise and the request for the £ 50 millions was repeated several times.
In addition, the voice seemed metallic and without any particular accent, as if it was recorded on tape.
And yet, Arturo Sutter declared to the Public Prosecutor: “On the morning of May 7, I received a phone call: who spoke, pronuncing his words, asked for £ 50 millions to be taken to the first flowerbed in Corso Italia: no more details were given, or how and when took place the ransom”.
Let’s not forget his emotional condition, a father who had no news of his daughter.
It’s understandable that emotions can blur the mind; could it have been for this reason that Arturo Sutter modified the first version?
For your part, would you still trust him?
Usually, ransoms are full of precise details.
In this case, many are missing, or rather, how to deliver the money or when.
Only the place is specified: the first flowerbed in Corso Italia – a street not far from Milena’s house.
Another mistake of the kidnapper? Another detail that wasn’t taken into account. In fact, nothing prove that the investigators have examinated the area.
On May 9, however, Milena’s school bag was found in the same area indicated by the kidnapper.
Why not make a inspection there, that could have been an interesting lead? The real reason has never been explained.
Doubts about the motive
So far, we know that the best motive for Milena’s disappearance is kidnapping by extortion.
However, in view of the doubts, the media and even the investigators started to consider other hypotheses.
Angelo Costa referred to one of these: “I would like to discard the sex offender, it would be worrying”.
While a second hypothesis, founded on the basis of “quick and incomprehensible calls” and the “spelled voice”, was an organized act by someone to distract suspicion and confuse the investigation.
Therefore, the motive of money extortion would be only an apparent motive.
These remain just hypothesis. It miss to find the real evidences.