True Crime Tales with Cosette | The brutal murder of Carmela (Melania) Rea

Hello everyone!

Today we are talking about the brutal murder of Melania Rea. Her death sent shockwaves through the community, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of those who knew her and those who followed the case. Carmela Rea, better known as Melania, was a beautiful 28-year-old woman married to Salvatore Parolisi, age 32. They had a young daughter named Vittoria. Salvatore was a Chief Corporal of the Italian Army, serving since February 2008 at the 235th Volunteers Training Regiment. This regiment is dedicated to the basic training of female troop volunteers.

Melania Rea
Melania Rea

This story begins on Monday, the 18th of April, 2011. It's about 3:50 p.m. It is a chilly day in Colle San Marco, a hamlet of Ascoli Piceno. A black Renault Scenic pulls up in front of the bar and restaurant known as BAR Segà. A man wearing shorts and a short-sleeved T-shirt gets out of that car, holding a small girl in his arms. He looks distraught. 

At 4:34 p.m., a 112 call was made by Mrs Giovanna Flammini, the restaurant owner. The woman reported to the operator that she had just learned from a customer that he could no longer trace his wife. After dialling 112 on his mobile phone, the man immediately passed the call on to the woman to go to the bathroom because he started to feel sick.

When he returned from the restroom and picked up the telephone again, he told the operator that he was a soldier serving at the 235th regiment and that while with his daughter and wife in the swings area, not far from the bar, the woman, Rea Carmela, had left to go to the restroom. Since the girl had started crying because she wanted to keep playing on the swings, he had not followed her and had asked her to bring him a coffee. After about 20 minutes, he called his wife on his mobile phone, and although the phone rang, she did not answer. At which point he decided to go to the café where he asked for news of his wife.

BAR Sega
BAR Segà

The search for the young woman was immediately initiated, paying particular attention to the road where the woman's mobile phone was connected to a specific cell tower. 

At 9:00 p.m., Salvatore, taken to the offices of the Italian national police force (Carabinieri), formalised the report of his wife's disappearance.

On the 20th of April 2011, at about 2.50 p.m., a strange call was made to 113. The voice of a middle-aged man with a local accent spoke of the discovery of a dead body while he was walking in the woods. The informant did not seem to be in shock; maybe he was just a prankster, but, as per protocol, the investigation began. The anonymous informant remains unidentified. Shortly afterwards, the scene was reached by the Italian national police force, who found the body.

The discovery was tragic: lying on a carpet of leaves, under the open sky, was the corpse of a young woman, tortured with 35 stab wounds, none of them fatal. She was found lying on her back, her neck soaked in blood, her black top slightly raised towards her breasts, and her jeans, tights and underwear pulled below her knees. A body lacerated not only by wounds. Her murderer had returned to the scene after the crime to carve mysterious swastika-like marks into her skin. He had also stuck a syringe on the faux leather jacket, at the level of the heart. The forensic pathologist, who arrived shortly afterwards, carried out a preliminary cadaveric inspection and found that the woman had probably died as a result of multiple blows with a sharp weapon in several parts of her body. She bled to death!

While waiting for confirmation, the thought immediately when to Melania, the Neapolitan mother, who disappeared into thin air two days earlier during an outing with her husband and 18-month-old daughter. Dark eyes and long black hair: in those dramatic hours, everyone was struck by the 28-year-old's smiling face, printed in the photos circulated to help in the search. The lifeless body found a few steps away from a wooden kiosk, was indeed that of Melania.

the location where the body was found
Melania's body was found next to a wooden kiosk

The various searches of the site where the body was found lasted several days. This led to the discovery of a few items, including a mobile phone, an old tourniquet, two syringe needle caps, an insulin-type syringe plunger, a white BIC plastic lighter with traces of blood and an earring (later confirmed to belong to the victim, who was wearing it on her left ear lobe).

The first hypothesis, looking at the underwear and the tights below the knees, was that of an assault that ended in tragedy. However, this idea was discarded after the autopsy. Melania had no signs of sexual violence.

For the investigating magistrates, the swastikas-like marks are an attempt by the killer to throw suspicions off; as are the accessories of the syringe found a few centimetres from the woman, which would have suggested the hand of a drug addict.

To make the woman's murder case even more complex is also the extensive media coverage, fuelling initiatives by 'clairvoyants' and mythomaniacs to the point of leading some individuals to accuse themselves of the terrible murder.

Later, following the autopsy, 29 deep stab wounds were found on the body, caused by pointing and cutting and distributed over the cervical region, trunk and upper limbs. These wounds were predominantly deep compared to the other superficial ones. There were 6 superficial wounds (one in the shape of a swastika). They were present in the cervicofacial region and in the upper limbs. A single-edged knife was most probably used to cause all the injuries.

As the investigation progressed, suspicions began to fall upon Melania's husband, Salvatore. The couple's troubled relationship and the husband's inconsistent statements raised red flags, casting a shadow of doubt over his innocence. 

Melania Rea was the daughter of an Air Force soldier. She was immediately mesmerised by Salvatore, himself an army soldier. The woman's family had welcomed him, also of humble origins, as an additional son.

The birth of their child further solidified the family bond. But shortly afterwards, one event, in particular, began to sour the relationship.

One day Melania received a call from an unknown number. When she picked up, the voice was that of her husband. He had made the common mistake of having an additional SIM card reserved for another person.

The call had made Melania so suspicious that she set out to find the woman for whom her husband's phone card was reserved. The woman's name was Ludovica. She was 26 years old and was one of her husband's trainees, who confirmed that she had had an affair with her instructor.

Salvatore with his mistress
Parolisi and his mistress Ludovica Perrone

The woman decided to confront her husband, who did not deny the affair but downplayed it. Despite the betrayal, Melania forgives her husband to save the marriage for their daughter's sake. Or perhaps simply because she believed the words of the man she had married and still loved. Her husband, however, had not put an end to the extramarital affair. He had promised the mistress a future together.

Moreover, it is precisely this circumstance that prompts the investigators to delve deeper into the matter, as they discover that Salvatore had never broken off his relationship with Ludovica and, indeed, that on the day of his wife's disappearance, he had called his mistress telling her to delete any trace of their communication. Furthermore, investigative findings revealed that he was also in the process of meeting the woman's family for an official introduction. But he had also sworn to his wife that the affair was over. Salvatore was smothered by his own lies. 

The extramarital affair thus became a possible motive. On the 21st of June, the victim's husband was entered into the suspect register on the charge of aggravated voluntary manslaughter

The man's movements are reconstructed, family members and friends of the victim are interviewed several times, fellow soldiers are questioned, the alleged mistress is also interviewed, and many people who were in the area of the playground and the kiosk on the day of the woman's disappearance make voluntary statements and state that they had never seen any members of the victim's family in that area.

the swings area where Melania was last seen
The park at Colle San Marco

According to the investigators, these elements strengthen suspicions of his guilt. Perhaps, if there was an accomplice, he was only implicated with the markings inflicted on Melania's corpse.

The following 19th of July, Salvatore was arrested on charges of the aggravated voluntary homicide of his wife and imprisoned. The arrest brings into focus military life in the promiscuous barracks. Especially that of the instructors who attract female soldiers and the code of silence of fellow soldiers to cover up their colleagues' escapades with mistresses. 

Furthermore, digging into the corporal's past, it turns out that in addition to Ludovica, the man had several casual relationships with several female students.

According to the most plausible murder reconstruction, Melania had pulled down her trousers, probably to urinate. The victim was neither attacked nor surprised by a stranger. Also, her makeup was intact; Melania had not cried. She had been killed by someone she knew well. She did not defend herself or put up a fight. 

The bloody shoe prints left at the crime scenes appear to belong to a pair of male tennis shoes. The victim's husband allegedly washed himself and his shoes at a small fountain near where the body was found. There he supposedly changed his clothes and later abandoned the bloody ones elsewhere.

On the 26th of October 2012, after about three hours in chambers, the Judge of the Preliminary Hearing sentenced Salvatore to life imprisonment and imposed the additional penalties of perpetual disqualification from public office, legal disqualification and forfeiture of parental authority.

According to the trial findings, the man allegedly overpowered a vulnerable woman by hitting her with anger and rage. Melania died after a long agony. On her wrist, she wore a bracelet with her husband's name and a chain engraved with these words: 'With you, it will always be a new day of love'. 

The suspicions towards Salvatore are many. However, there is no smoking gun, and the murder weapon has never been found. But the clues collected are enough to reconstruct the truth. The instructor's first version is full of contradictions. The times do not add up. The movements do not add up. The lies told about his adultery do not add up. 

In support of this reconstruction, some factors weigh heavily: the lack of an alibi and the abnormal behaviour after the crime. Salvatore ran the washing machine in the middle of the night, hours after his wife disappeared. He also warned his lover to deny the affair and delete contacts and conversations, a motive represented by the conflict with his wife, whom he did not intend to leave, but from whom he wanted to be finally free. 

Not only that but Melania was also perceived as an obstacle to his career since she had threatened Ludovica to 'ruin them' with her military connections. Finally, Parolisi knew the area of the kiosk perfectly well because his regiment's training base camp had been set up there.

For the justice system, the hand that killed Melania Rea was indeed that of the man she loved. Melania was a woman killed by her husband, probably in the course of an argument that escalated due to the affair the man had. What framed him was a kiss given to his wife shortly before she died. Traces of his DNA found on Melania's dental arch placed him at the scene of the crime moments before the woman's heart stopped beating forever.

In May 2015, the Court of Appeal of Perugia reduced the sentence from 30 to 20 years imprisonment. A readjustment made necessary by the Cassation Court's ruling on the previous 10th of February, when the Court, while confirming the defendant's guilt, had excluded the aggravating circumstance of cruelty. Salvatore, despite his final conviction, has always professed his innocence.

Salvatore with police officers
Parolisi escorted by police officers

The trial and subsequent verdict in the murder of Melania Rea marked a significant milestone in the pursuit of justice. It provided closure for Melania's family, who could now begin the process of healing and remembering their beloved daughter, sister, and friend. While the legal proceedings cannot undo the tragedy, they are a reminder that the justice system can work tirelessly to uncover the truth and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.

Salvatore served 12 of the 20 years of his sentence and has always been a model inmate. He can now benefit from daily permits and leave the prison facility where he is incarcerated.

The impact of Melania's story extended far beyond her immediate circle. The media coverage surrounding the case shed light on the broader issue of gender-based violence, prompting a national conversation.

As we reflect on the verdict, it is crucial to remember Melania Rea as more than just a victim. She was a vibrant young woman with dreams and aspirations whose life was cut short. Her legacy is a poignant reminder of the importance of cherishing our loved ones and striving for a world where senseless acts of violence have no place.

Do you think Salvatore Parolisi murdered his wife, or is he really innocent as he claims to be? Leave a comment below!

Talk soon,



I'm a vegan with a passion for sustainability and clean, cruelty-free products. I mainly write lifestyle, wellness and self-care articles. Since I'm a true crime enthusiast, sometimes I also write about true crime and post videos on my two YouTube channels.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment! If you ask a question I will answer it asap. – Cosette

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