Milena Sutter’s kidnapping and murder. The girl vanished in Genoa (Italy) in 1971.

I bet that a lot of us – except for those who keep a personal journal – don’t remember what we did last month or last week, even yesterday, maybe.

The 6th May 1971, for example, was, for a lot of people, an ordinary day in the ordinary world, but for many others, especially for whom lived in Genoa, it wasn’t.

They still remember that day very clearly.

May 6, 1971 according to the media

Imagine you wake up in the morning, open the newspaper and read an article about a kidnapped girl. A crime story news on the front page.

You could think: “It’s fairly common to read this type of stories, we read them almost every day.” Yes, maybe now, but back then it was different.

But in 1971 in Genoa, the news of a kidnapped girl was a deep shock for who knew her because she wasn’t a common girl.

Indeed, on the 7th of May 1971, a big title printed on the first page of Cortile Mercantile – a daily afternoon Genoese newspaper-: “Genoa: kidnapping of Mr. Sutter’s daughter – requested fifty millions”.

The girl was Milena, the thirtheen- years old daughter of Arturo Sutter, a very well know industrialist and a very rich man.

Another Genoese newspaper, Il Secolo XIX, confirmed the general state of deep concern as the headline highlighted: “Anguish over Milena’s fate”.

According to media Milena Sutter had been kidnapped for ransom.

The request of fifty millions in old Lire (480,000 euros today) seemed to prove it.

Milena Sutter e Lorenzo Bozano
The first newspaper which published news about Milena Sutter’s disappearance

What did Milena Sutter do on Thursday 6th May?

Milena Sutter was a thirteen-year-old blond girl who attended the eight grade of the Swiss School in Genoa.

She was pretty, thin and looked older than her real age.

She was also described as honest, healthy and diligent. In other words, what we call, a good young girl.

On the May the 6th, the school day ended at 5pm and the classmates invited Milena to get an ice cream together.

According to some of their testimonies Milena refused their invitation because she was in a rush.

In fact, she had to go back home for a private lesson scheduled at 5.30 pm with her History’s teacher.

She always used to take the bus number 88 to go home.

But according to a couple of other schoolmates Milena wasn’t in a hurry.

They said that Milena was calm, didn’t look worried and was not rushed at all.

Anyway, after 5 pm there was no trace of Milena anymore.

She never took the bus and she never arrived at home.

She completely vanished and nobody ever saw her again.

Milena Sutter - The Vanished Girl - 1971 - The Sutter-Bozano Affaire - The Perfect Culprit - Crime, Justice, Media
Milena Sutter vanished in Genoa in 1971, May 6th. What happened to her?

Was Milena kidnapped?

Going back to what media stated, newspapers reported Milena as a kidnapped girl.

The Corriere Mercantile affirming that: “A young man with a red sport car, an Alfa Spider, had been seen in the proximity of her villa” seemed to support this hypothesis.

In fact, some neighbours of the Sutter family claimed that they had seen an unknown robust man with blonde hair, moustache and long sideburns roaming around the Sutter’s house in his car.

This would have happened a few days or weeks before Milena’s disappearance.

All the interviewed people described a man with the same physical details and the same car.

Media gathered all the information and looked at him as a possible person of interest.

In any case, no one of the residents said the man’s name, maybe for fear, even if they already had doubts about who might have been.

In the meantime, the police carried on with the investigation.

Lorenzo Bozano, the only person suspected for Milena's kidnapping and murder
Lorenzo Bozano, the only person suspected for Milena’s kidnapping and murder

What did Lorenzo Bozano do on 6th May?

Despite no one revealed the name of the red Spider’s owner, he introduced himself to the police.

In fact, reading the paper, he recognized himself in the descriptions given by the Sutter’s neighbours and following his lawyer’s advice he spontaneously showed up.

His name was Lorenzo Bozano.

Lorenzo was a twenty-six-years-old man and he belonged to an upper-class family. 

When he was interrogated, he denied knowing Milena and emphasized his lack of involvement.

He said that he lived in an area near the Sutter’s family and that he also had a crush for a housekeeper, who lived in a house in front of the Sutter villa, and this was the reason why he often went around there.

What was missing was an alibi? In fact, what was he doing that day?

He declared that on the 6th of May he wandered aimlessly around the centre of Genoa and no one noticed him.

Despite his declaration there were still too many doubts about what Bozano did on that Thursday afternoon and so he became the prime suspect for the police.

Milena Sutter in the beach of Priaruggia - May 20th 1971 - Genoa - Italy - blog ilbiondino

From kidnapping to murder

Two weeks after Milena’s disappearance, a body was found into the sea by two fishermen a few hundred meters from Priaruggia beach –not very distant from the centre of Genoa.

The victim had both hands tied by a rope and a lead scuba belt around the waist.

It might have been a dead scuba diver maybe as the person was completely unrecognizable. It was even hard to define gender and age.

She still wore a flowery shirt, a yellow sweater and a blue blouse: the same clothes with which she was seen alive. 

Il Secolo XIX clearly declared: “Milena was murdered”. For the people of Genoa was another shock. After that, Lorenzo Bozano was arrested.

He officially became the only one suspect.

Milena was murdered the same day she was kidnapped”.

The events according to media: in the afternoon of May 6th, 1971 Lorenzo Bozano somehow got Milena into his red Spider.

After that, he strangled Milena and threw her body to the sea.

Since that moment the media just focused on “the monster” Lorenzo Bozano.

Gaia Corradino