August 10, 1996 (Saturday)
Monte Faito, Vico Equense, Naples, Italy
Alternative Name: Angelita
Nome alternativo: Angelita
Missing from: Monte Faito, Vico Equense, Naples, Italy
Date Missing: August 10, 1996 (Saturday)
Taken By: Unknown
Assenti da: Monte Faito, Vico Equense, Napoli, Italia
Data mancante: 10 Agosto 1996 (Sabato)
Preso da: Sconosciuto
On the morning of August 10, Angela’s family set off on what promised to be a fun day outdoors. Their church community had planned a large picnic of approximately 40 people in the scenic area of Monte Faito, a nearby mountainous area popular for tourists and locals out for a hike. The views from the mountain are stunning and the forest offers a great place for people to roam outside of the city. The event was hosted as an annual “end of the year” party for the children full of games and activities to celebrate their graduation to the next year in Sunday School.
The Celentano’s took their three girls – Rosanna (6), Angela (3), and Naomi (1) – with them up to the party expecting the children to enjoy the opportunity to run and play in the sun.
They left home at approximately 10:00am / 10:30am and arrived to find the church’s usual plans had changed a bit. Typically, they would meet near the equestrian center; however, this year it was already filled with other people enjoying the day. Instead, the group selected an area near the sports center that they felt also offered a safe and open place for the kids to run around.
The children played the rest of the morning nearby and all were present at noon when they finally rested for lunch. At approximately 1:00pm (13:00), Angela had finished lunch and asked her father if he would play with her in the hammock. Her father (Catello) told her she could play on the hammock later and turned around to speak with her mother (Maria). He asked if there was anything else to eat and whether Angela had eaten yet, to which Maria replied that there was more food coming. She said Angela had already eaten but that he could ask if she was still hungry. Catello turned around and called out to Angela expecting her to be right behind him as he had spoken to her only a couple minutes earlier. Almost no time had passed, but Angela had suddenly disappeared.
There, in the space of a few short moments. . . Angela was gone.
Immediately searching for her, the Celentano’s calls quickly attracted the attention of the other party members. Every searched the area immediately, and upon failing to locate her they called the police quickly. A police patrol was nearby (less than 500m away) and they rapidly joined in with the search, calling for more aid from officials. Within two hours, the area was covered with various police forces, volunteers, the army, and others. A child as young as Angela should not have been able to go that far in such a short period of time, and every was extremely concerned.
Police and locals combed the mountain thoroughly for days searching for the child, but found no trace of her anyway. No sign of where she might have gone, or (if kidnapped) who might have taken her. K-9 units including special dogs that can sense 2m below ground, military helicopters with infrared and night vision technology, persons on horseback, rock climbers and people searching the caves – all were used. After four days, many (including her family) believed it was not possible for her to still be on the mountain – they had searched everyone. Someone must have carried her away.
Suddenly, on August 19th, as the family waited desperately for news, they received a phone call. The caller did not speak. . . the only sound was that of a wailing child. Then the caller hung up.
Possible Sightings & Lines of Inquiry
- Renato and Luca
After Angela disappeared, an 11 y/o boy (Renato) came forward to say he had been with Angela shortly before she disappeared. Renato was walking down the path towards the parking lot to drop his ball off at his parent’s car. According to Renato, Angela followed him a ways despite his attempts to make her go back. About halfway to the parking lot, they paused at a fork in the path. One way went on towards the parking lot, while the other direction headed off into another area in the park filled with visitors. Angela stayed at the fork in the road while Renato headed down the path to his car. After dropping off his ball, he returned immediately but did not see Angela or anyone else along the way. He assumed she had returned to her family. It is not clear if this was before or after Angela was asking her dad about the hammock (Link).
Renato’s testimony conflicted with that of his friend Luca’s (12) when police questioned them later. Luca claimed that he saw Renato and Angela on the path and had told Renato to take Angela back to her mother. Luca testified that he also offered to take Angela back himself, but that Renato wouldn’t listen to him. Police were never able to get the boys to reconcile their stories.
In 2017, Chi l’ha Visto published a video claiming Luca has also testified that he saw two men grabbing Angela from Renato. One of the men had a ponytail and a tattoo like a snake on the back of his hand. The other man was large with an oval face and freckles. One put his hand over her mouth and the two dragged her to the road and into a black Fiat Uno. The license plate he remembered was EN85430 but he also thought there might have been a 9.
Luca later recanted this statement, but it seemed to align in some ways with another witness’s statement given three years later. This witness testified that he had seen a Metallic Gold, Lancia Prisma passing him with a Perugia license plate. The vehicle was driving rapidly on the road towards Castellammare di Stabia and was driven by a man with a ponytail. The witness recalled the vehicle because it side-swiped him and broke his left rear-view mirror. They did not stop and continued on after a brief pause. In the back of the vehicle was another man who appeared to have one hand below the seat.
2. Family Relations
In 1999, the investigation was compiled into a report delivered to the prosecution. One fact that caught people’s attention was the fact that Angela’s cousin (13) the night before had made an odd comment to Angela’s mother along the lines of “What if tomorrow Angela disappears in the woods?” Initially ignored, it later created the suspicion that perhaps she overheard plans to kidnap or attack Angela during the picnic. Ultimately, Angela’s uncle and seven other people (four friends and three underage acquaintances) were suspected of having been involved. The details here are scarce, but it appears there were accusations that the people had kidnapped Angela as part of a blackmail scheme (Angela’s uncle had some debts at the time). It seems nothing came from that line of inquiry and the case was later dropped.
The cousin later rejected the accusations claiming her statement meant nothing- rather she had been telling Angela the story of “Little Red Riding Hood” and was simply replacing Riding Hood’s name with Angela’s in the story. She claimed it was all made up, but psychologists who interviewed her were concerned.
3. The Rome Connection
According to Piu Donna, a woman claimed to have seen Angela in Rome where she was boarding a bus accompanied by a man that appeared to be South American (Link). She recalled it was either the summer Angela disappeared or the summer after – the photos of Angela were still being shown everywhere.
The man is described as being “scruffy” with darker skin, approximately 5’9″ (175cm). He was speaking Spanish the witness recalled, saying “Angelita, vamos!” The child with him was in a printed dress with white sandals. According to her testimony, the child strongly resembled Angela, but the man called her “Angelita” instead.
They got off the bus (558 from Casilina to Tuscolana) and left along the street that passed by the nearby gypsy camp and Centocelle airport.
4. The Roma Girl
In November 2001, a girl was located begging amongst the Roma gypsies who resembled Angela. A DNA test proved she was not the same child.
5. The Romanian Pedophile
In March 2009, a man came forward testifying that he had seen something unusual in the area where Angela disappeared. He was driving towards Sorrento when he was passed by a Brown Fiat 131 that he recognized as belonging to a Romanian store owner from his town of Gragnano.
The Fiat 131 was being driven rapidly, passing between cars and seemed in a hurry. The witness visited the man’s store a couple days later but found it closed. He later was informed that the man had been arrested for sexually assaulting a girl (10) and investigations uncovered many images of children, toys, and clothes in his home. It appears that man later returned to Romania after serving his time in prison. No proven connection to Angela was ever uncovered.
6. FBI Investigation
In 2000, the Italian police – after exhausting many dead ends – reached out the American FBI for assistance (Link). They hoped that the FBI, who specialized in cases like these and had some success with cold cases in particular, might bring fresh insight into the case. The FBI sent five specialists from the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, an organization specializing in crimes like serial killers and child abductions.
According to a report filed with the prosecutor’s office on July 30, 2004, the FBI claimed to have a relatively clear understanding of what had occurred and a preliminary suspect. The report when on to hypothesize that Angela had been killed accidentally the day of the picnic and her body hidden on the mountain by a man who lived in a cottage on Monte Faito. The police investigated the man’s home and found what appeared to be a memorial or altar with photos of Angela and newspaper clippings of her story amongst other items. They also found a hat that was identical to the one she was wearing at the picnic.
Unfortunately, the evidence was not sufficient to justify an arrest and the story remains unresolved.
7. Celeste Ruiz
The link between Angela and South America gained new attention in 2010 after a Mexican woman, Celeste Ruiz, contacted the family claiming that she was Angela and offering a photo of a woman around twenty who did have similar features. The person continued to email back and forth with Angela’s sister for two years apparently, offering details that eventually led the Celentano’s to believe she may be Angela (Link).
According to ‘Celeste’s’ story, she had been abandoned with her current family (Ruiz) by their maid. The maid had vanished one day leaving behind her child and the police discovered her name and identity were false. With no way to locate the maid, the Ruiz family adopted the child as their own.
The woman suddenly disappeared and in 2012, Mexican police began an investigation into the situation. The emails were traced to a family’s home in Acapulco, Mexico. The family (also Ruiz) did have a son and daughter, but they were too young. The situation after that point is somewhat unclear from translations (Link) and apparently the search shifted to a different family named Ruiz (?*) living in Cancun. That family did have a daughter (adopted after a maid left her behind) and the wife’s son from a previous marriage knew the story. He concocted the tale and put the lie into motion. His reasons for doing so are unclear.
A woman later came forward and claimed the photo itself was hers and had been used without her knowledge. DNA proved she was not Angela.
*It’s not entirely clear if this was a different family or somehow related to the Acapulco Ruiz’ family.
Another rumor suggested she might have been living in Bulgaria under the name Anna (this proved false apparently). Or perhaps Germany. Some suggested she was adopted – others that she was the victim of traffickers. There was also a report of an unknown vehicle with two foreigners in the area of Monte Faito that day. But there was never anything truly solid to go on.
In March-April 2020, after years of investigation, the prosecutor’s office closed the case. Angela’s family however still waits for answers.
Happy birthday Angela! You turn 27 today. Yes, do. Because in us there is always and still alive the hope of being able to see you again and embrace you one day. Surely many things have changed, many things have happened, but your memory is always alive in us. We jealously preserve everything and every memory that binds us to you: your way of speaking, your way of running, your curiosity, your laugh, your little eyes, your expressions. Everything about you is etched inside us and nothing can ever take this away from us, at least this.
Let’s move forward, with God’s strength inside, thinking that every day that passes is one day less than the day we will see each other again. We’re always here, little sister. And today our best wishes go to you. We love you. Your familyNotice from Angela’s Sisters (Link)
- Date of Birth: June 11, 1993
- Age at Disappearance: 3
- Ethnicity: Caucasian
- Nationality: Italian
- Gender at Birth: Female
- Hair: Brunette
- Eye Color: Brown
- Height: 3’3″ (100cm)
- Data di nascita: 11 Giugno 1993
- Età alla scomparsa: 3
- Etnia: Caucasica
- Nazionalità: Italiana
- Sesso alla nascita: Femmina
- Capelli: Castani
- Colore degli occhi: Marrone
- Altezza: 3’3″ (100 cm)
Distinguishing Marks or Factors
- Dark birthmark on the right side of back
- Voglia scura sul lato destro della schiena
- White T-Shirt
- Light Pink Shorts
- Maglietta bianca
- Pantaloncini rosa chiaro
If You or Anyone You Know Has Information About The Disappearances, Please Contact:
- Direzione Centrale Anticrimine della Polizia di Stato Sezione Minori
- Adriana (2019) ‘Bomba Angela Celentano, dopo 24 anni la confessione choc di una testimone: “So chi ha preso la bambina, ecco la verità”, Piu Donna, December 31. Link
- Adriana (2020) ‘Angela Celentano, Arriva la Svolta sulla bambina scomparsa. Genitori distrutti’, Piu Donna, March 3. Link
- Adriana (2019) ‘Angela Celentano, un rapporto segreto dell’FBI svela cosa è successo alla piccola. La verità choc dopo 13 anni’, Piu Donna, December 23. Link.
- Spartà, M. (2020) ‘Scomparsa Angela Celentano: dalle piste d’oltre oceano ai documenti segreti dell’FBI’, Yes Life, April 8. Link.
- Marino, A. ‘Buon compleanno Angela Celentano: oggi la bimba scomparsa sul Faito compirebbe gli anni’, FanPage, Link.
- Chi L’ha Visto ‘Angela Celentano’, Link.
- Global Missing Children Network (2021). Link
- Leucci, A. (2021) ‘”Siete dei ruffiani”. Nel video l’attacco ai genitori di Angela Celentano‘, Il Gionarle, 3 June. Link.
- Angela Celentano (MySpace – Official). Link
- Criscuoli, L. (2005) ‘Angela Celentano’, Black Chronicle, November. Link.
- Bartolome, R. (2021) ‘Denise Pipitone, Angela Celentano e le altre: storie di bimbe mai ritrovate’, Quotidiano, 31 Mark. Link.
- G. R. (2020) ‘VICO EQUENSE – DOSSIER ANGELA CELENTANO: IL FALLIMENTO DEI G-MAN DELL’FBI’, Pop! Ilgiornale Popolare, November 7. Link
- Leo, I. (2015) ‘Riaperto il caso Angela Celentano’, XXI Secolo, 26 November. Link
- Napolitano, S. ‘THE CASE OF ANGELA CELENTANO’, Historia Page
- Peronaci, F. (2001) ‘Angela Celentano, nuova testimone «La vidi su un autobus a Roma»’, Roma Corriere, 17 April. Link.