The dead body of the mother who allegedly suffocated her two daughters aged 3 and 11 to death in a women’s refuge has been found floating down a river.
Sachithra Nisansala Fernando Mahawaduge Dewendra, 34, was found dead in the Adige river a day after her two daughters were found dead at the women’s refuge where they were living in the Italian city of Verona yesterday, 27th October.
The Senegalese national had been staying at the refuge ‘Il Porto delle Mamme’ with her two daughters, who were not named, since January after a judge ordered them to be protected from Dewendra’s abusive husband by the state.
The family was staying in a studio apartment within the refuge, which had several social workers coming and going to check up on the children and their mother.
A social worker, who preferred to remain anonymous, told the news site Leggo that on the day of the alleged murder on Tuesday, 26th October, the two young girls had a fever and their mother asked her to bring them medicine.
Dewendra then allegedly told the social worker that the girls would not be going to school or nursery because they were sick.
The social worker later returned with the medicine and found that the two girls appeared to be sleeping.
She saw that the bathroom light was on and assumed that their mother must have been in, so she left.
The same social worker returned later in the day to find the light was still on. She walked into the bathroom and noticed that Dewendra was not there, but the window was open.
She then walked over to the sisters’ beds and found that they were not breathing.
She called the emergency services, which arrived on the scene and confirmed that both girls were dead.
The police launched an investigation and began to look for Dewendra with the help of dogs.
In under 24 hours, they found Dewendra’s purse and her sweater in the Adige river, which is located only a few miles from the refuge.
Approximately 300 metres (984 feet) from her possessions, they found her dead body.
Autopsies have been completed on the girls’ bodies, which confirmed that they were suffocated.
Further examinations are being carried out to determine exactly how they were killed.
The investigation is ongoing and no motive for the alleged murders has been put forward by the police so far.