Serial Killer Mother Turned Victims Into Soap & Sold: Fact Check

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Serial Killer Mother Turned Victims Into Soap & Sold


A Serial Killer and Mother of 4 Turned her Victims into Soap and Sold them to People.

Other Versions

Serial killer mother killed 3 women, made soap out of them and sold to neighbors.

Fact Check:

A shocking story in circulation claims a serial killer and mother of 4 killed 3 women, made soap out of them and sold to neighbors. The unusual crime story in fact talks about an Italian serial killer Leonarda Cianciulli (18 April 1894 – 15 October 1970), better known as the “Soap-Maker of Correggio”.  Complete details of the case are explained here.

About Leonarda Cianciulli

Leonarda Cianciulli was an Italian woman born in Montella, Avellino. As a young girl, she attempted suicide twice. She married a registry office clerk, Raffaele Pansardi against her parents’ approval and moved to his native town of Lauria, Potenza. She was sentenced and imprisoned for fraud there in 1927. After release, they had to change places due to Earthquake and opened a small shop in Correggio, Reggio Emilia in 1930s. She became popular as kind woman and doting mother in the neighborhood.

In her 17 pregnancies during marriage, Leonarda Cianciulli lost 3 children to miscarriage and 10 more died at young age. As a result, she became very protective of the surviving 4 children. Reportedly, her fears were fueled by a gypsy fortune teller who warned her about the tragedies of her children in future. Leonarda Cianciulli, a superstitious woman also believed she needed a human sacrifice to protect them.

Murders of Three Women

In 1939, Cianciulli’ eldest son and favorite child, Giuseppe was going to join the Italian Army in preparation for World War II. She became fearsome and decided to protect him at all costs. Between 1939 and 1940, Leonarda lured three middle-aged women – Faustina Setti, Francesca Soavi and Virginia Cacioppo – into her shop. She drugged them, killed them with an axe and disposed off their remains boiling them in Caustic soda. All three in fact asked Leonarda for help to escape from the routine and solitude of Correggio.

In her court testimony, Leonarda Cianciulli explained she turned one of the women’s remains into soap bars and gave them out to neighbors and acquaintances. She also mentioned making tea cakes out of the dead bodies. Thus, she has the nickname “la Saponificatrice di Correggio,” translating to “the soap-maker of Correggio.”

Discovery of Crime and Sentence

Virginia Cacioppo’s sister-in-law became suspicious of her sudden disappearance. She complained to Superintendent of Police mentioning she last saw her entering the house of Leonarda Cianciulli. Police investigated into the matter and arrested Leonarda Cianciulli, who did not confess to the murders at first. When police started to believe her son Giuseppe Pansardi was involved in the crime, she confessed to the murders, providing detailed accounts of what she did to them.

Leonarda Cianciulli was diagnosed as “manic,” but she was able to stand the trial in 1946. Court sentenced her to 30 years in prison and 3 years in a criminal asylum. On 15th October 1970, Cianciulli died of cerebral apoplexy in the women’s criminal asylum of Pozzuoli. Interestingly, a number of artifacts from the case, including the pot in which the victims were boiled, were on display at the Criminological Museum in Rome.

Hoax or Fact:

Fact with some misinformation.

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