Italian mother Concetta Serrano told daughter dead on live TV show Chi l'ha visto
ITALIANS are questioning the merits of reality crime TV after 3.5 million viewers saw a shocked mother learn her daughter had been murdered and her brother-in-law allegedly responsible on live TV.
Concetta Serrano was participating in the Chi l'ha visto program which tracks down missing persons after her 15-year-old daughter Sarah Scazzi went missing in August in Taranto, southern Italy.
The show was being filmed live from Ms Serrano's brother-in-law's house on Wednesday night when the anchor of the show informed her a body believed to be Sarah's had been found and that Sarah's uncle had allegedly confessed.
A shocked Ms Serrano reportedly murmured "my brother-in-law is innocent," and "I can't believe it" as she sat in the dining room.
While much of the nation watched, calls were made to the mobile phone of the uncle, Michele Misseri, who, along with his wife, Ms Serrano's sister, had been interrogated for hours and was still being questioned at that moment.
Misseri didn't answer Ms Serrano’s calls. At one point someone telephoned the mother, who went pale. She then asked the TV show's reporter at the uncle's house if the news was true.
It was not until eight minutes after learning the news about her daughter and brother-in law that Ms Serrano was asked if she would like filming to stop, which she responded to with "it is better", however the broadcast continued for another three minutes.
A storm of online comments on a Youtube extract protested the shows handling of the incident.
One viewer posted - "If you're a human being with the least heart, you can't do something like this", reported The Guardian.
Sarah disappeared on August 26 while she walked the short distance through the town of Avetrana to her uncle's house, where she was supposed to meet a cousin to go to the beach along the Mediterranean in Puglia.
Police said the girl's uncle, Misseri, had confessed that he had killed Sarah shortly after she disappeared. News reports said Misseri confessed to strangling the girl after she refused his sexual advances.
Police are awaiting the results of DNA testing to confirm whether a body the uncle led them to is Sarah’s.
The uncle raised suspicions about a week ago when he gave police Sarah's burned mobile phone he claimed to have found while burning leaves near his house.
The TV program had asked Sarah's mother if she would agree to go on live TV in a transmission from Misseri's house, with her brother-in-law and other family members gathered.
Hours before the show went on the air, police began interrogating the uncle, and the broadcast went on without him.