“ITALY 2008: From macabre rumors to the hidden evidence, the truth of what happened inside Domintrescu's Mansion”
My name is Manuel Grimaldi and I am what is called a "conspiracy journalist" with a particular interest in the paranormal.
I was introduced to the tragic and true story by, Eric Foster, the brother of Ashley Foster, one of the of six that went missing in July 2008. Eric is a priest from the Anglo-American Church of New Jersey, and I had met him some time ago on one of my research trips to the USA.
He did not hesitate to contact me for help in investigating.
What exactly happened that summer, in the upper area of Garda lake, in those isolated mountain peaks of northern Italy?
If you want the official police account it goes like this: "disappearance without motive", with both the Italian and American police closing their respective cases about 3 years later, because of a lack of any further evidence or information.
I have been investigating this case for five years now and have compiled a deep amount of materials. Videos, photos, facts, information. I’ve gained dozens of hours of testimony from locals in the area, I’ve covered tens of kilometers in an effort to speak to anyone who might have had any contact with the missing six. The story that is developing is compelling if not frightening. Sadly, it hasn’t prompted authorities to reopen their investigations. But I believe we have solid clues that may point the right direction, answer the right questions and maybe find something that will help all the families and my friend Eric, who it pains me to watch suffer through this. If all of this can result in just one thing it would be peace for all the families and no more time spent in the dark, knowing nothing of what has happened to their loved ones.
My first instinct was a serial killer had struck or perhaps a random case of a person with mental illness coming across their paths, or someone targeting the girls and this being a case starting with sexual assault and getting worse from there, even as a paranormal journalist, when you start investigating you consider that travel around us all first before you consider the ones you can’t see. It’s been my unfortunate experience to have learned long ago most horror is human-generated.
However, we never found anything to substantiate any theory of a stranger or random group. No signs of intrusion or burglary, no footage of the villa's security cameras showing anyone other than the six Americans (aside the found mobile phone footage recovered), and to be honest, all the CCTV tapes were seized by the Italian police and now they’ve vanished from the archives.
Villa Domintrescu is an ancient family residence hidden in the forests and mountains of the upper region of Lombardy in Italy, a place that, between the high shores of the lake and the mountains hides archaic rituals and stories that transcend your deepest nightmares.
This is a place as cut off from Italy as it is from the world. This is a world of its own, of pagan rites, devotees to sect and occult ritual.
And it's in this place, it is said, that hidden from sight there is a well an ancient hole in the ground that is the gate between darkness and light.
Villa Domintrescu sits just a few kilometers from this evil seat of antiquity. It was built by Vladimir Domintrescu. He had been a successful doctor back home but he was bored of medicine and wanted to start fresh as a businessman, so he moved his wife Zaraza and their three children from Romania to the northern mountains of Italy to start his new life with his family. However, while Vladimir may have been fascinated by business, his wife Zaraza was fascinated in entirely different things, often dabbling in ritualistic magic and the occult. And it was by what I believe a guided misfortune that the family had built that mansion directly overtop an evil manuscript, a book that Zaraza would find and begin to use.
That book took Zaraza. It took her and turned her into something unspeakable. It is said she became completely possessed by an ancient demon who slaughtered all three of the children in their sleep. From there she made a getaway through the woods, heading towards the old well, with her husband Vladimir in close pursuit. He eventually caught her and burned her to death, pinned to a tree that still stands to this very day.
We don’t know what happened to Vladimir, he was never seen again. So then what of the story itself? There was no one left to tell the tale after Vladimir disappeared, so how much of this story is a legend to hide murder we can’t know.
The mansion sat empty for quite some time but was eventually bought at auction a year before WWII started by an American who was part of the resistance. That person was Michael Daly, grandfather of one of the missing Americans, Chris Daly. Michael was familiar with the area and knew the mountainous area would provide perfect cover for a staging area to help resistance fighters travelling up and down the Mediterranean. After the war ended Michael stayed in the mansion for a brief period, leaving quickly and never returning. His family claims he rarely ever spoke of the resistance, his role in it or the mansion for that matter.
Michaels grandson, Chris, as we now know, comes into the story after being requested by his family to take sometime off and attend to estate affairs regarding the mansion.
As far as we know, the rest of the group of 5 met Chris who had already been in Italy for about 2 weeks, and they headed off to the villa on July 26, 2008.
We have no details of anything happening for the next two days but on the night of July 29th, the Codera police command received a 411 call, at 4:35am.
Detective Alex Baietti, who took the call, traced the signals location through GPS, and dispatched minutes later with his partner, Ercolesi Miranda. They were the first officers to respond on scene at the mansion and had no backup.
Both police officers vanished without a trace, the only thing found was their car parked outside the main gate and some traces of blood identified as belonging to Ercolesi.
Both the Carabinieri and the Italian national police had the mansion locked down for a week. They went through the entire estate from basement foundation to the attic roof trusses. They found nothing that could explain anything that happened to either the Americans or the two police officers.
The only thing they did find, were the pictures you see here.
So where did 8 fully grown adults go?
After taking away all the police theories, carefully removing every clue to leave just one obvious possibility, I was led to dig into the history of the mansion and estate itself.
This is why I know so much of it’s previous occupants and it’s why I know that modern science and forensics will likely never find any of the missing.
So let me now divulge to you what I think has taken our friends and family away.
In my many hours of interviews with locals there was one commonality to their stories, they all spoke of the same entity. Their stores all were different wavering often between divinity and the occult but there was always a demon, a witch…a ‘Strige’.
The story of the Strige was very compelling to me and I learned that the folklore goes back to the early 19th century, I tried to tell my friend Eric of my discovery and my belief that it was connected to the disappearance of everyone but being an ordained priest, well what could I have expected? He was very gracious and thanked me sincerely for the time I put into my investigation, but he also didn’t believe a thing I said to him.
And from there you have my despair. I wanted very much to help and to relieve the pain and sorrow of the families. I wanted to solve a mystery for the police, and I wanted closure for everyone that lives in the area where this happened. I didn’t get any of that. I didn’t get any answers for me, the police, or anyone for that matter, and worse of all, my efforts did nothing to cast out the evil that I know remains there to this day.
But I did find a few things, a few shreds of evidence the police didn’t get.
I’ve got a recording of Ashley's voice on the day she and her friends got to the mansion and even more compelling, a CCTV video clip of the main grounds in front of the mansion from the same day they arrived.
The footage is corrupted .... but there’s something there for a few frames. I don’t know what it is but I have a feeling it isn’t a "normal thing"