3 Roma girls burned alive - autopsy (2)

Caught sleeping, unable to get out

(ANSA) - Rome, May 15 - Elizabeth, Angelica and Francesca Halilovic, three Roma sisters who died in a fire in their family's camper van in Rome last week, were caught by the flames in their sleep and burned alive as they were unable to get out of the torched vehicle, according to an autopsy Monday. Police are still combing Roma camps for a suspect in the fire that killed the girls Tuesday night as part of a suspected feud between Roma families.
    The girls, aged 4, 8 and 20, were burned alive while their eight brothers and parents escaped the blaze.
    Rome investigators opened a homicide probe after the two children and young woman died in the Centocelle district of the capital.
    The homicide probe was opened after shards of glass and traces of flammable liquid were found outside the vehicle and video footage caught a man with a Molotov cocktail.
    Survivors of the blaze in the camper, which was home to a family from Bosnia made up of 11 children plus the parents, told investigators that they had recently received threats.
    Another camper was reportedly torched in the area recently.
    The camper was in a shopping centre car park, with the Halilovic family having recently moved from a Roma camp, reportedly amid tensions.
    The incident shocked Italy and moved Pope Francis to send a message to the family.
    The Sant'Egidio lay Catholic charity, which does a lot of work with Roma, said the incident showed "the Roma have been the victims of unprecedented violence".
    Former premier and centre-left Democratic Party (PD) leader Matteo Renzi called for "harsher punishment than normally envisaged for whoever caused the fire" while the Codacons consumer group said "the camper should not have been there, it is a sign of urban decay".
    Amnesty International Italia said the "tragic deaths...repropose the issue of the right to proper housing" on the part of Roma families.
    President Sergio Mattarella said the incident was "a horrendous crime, whoever committed it".
    He said "when you kill children you are below the level of a human being".
    Mattarella said "the culprits must be found and severely punished".
    Lower House Speaker Laura Boldrini tweeted "three sisters burned alive in the camper in which they lived. An aberrant act, full of hate and violence." Pope Francis sent a "message of comfort" to the family.
    It was taken to the Halilovic family by Papal Almoner Msgr Konrad Krajewski who went there to "bring a greeting and concrete aid to the parents and eight children", the Vatican press office said.