Soccer referee Daniele De Santis and his girlfriend Eleonora Manta were murdered on Monday
De Santis, 33, were and his model girlfriend Manta, 30, were stabbed to death at their home in Leece
Police launched an investigation, but no arrests have been made
The suspect who avoided facial recognition from surveillance cameras by wearing a mask, remains unknown and is still at large
The male suspect was seen running from the scene with a backpack and a knife after neighbors were alerted by screaming
De Santis was a referee in Serie C – Italy’s third-highest soccer division
He was due to officiate a Coppa Italia first-round tie on Wednesday
Italian referee Daniele De Santis and girlfriend Eleonora Manta have been murdered at their home.
The Italian soccer world is in mourning after the professional referee and his girlfriend were stabbed to death at their home in Lecce on Monday.
Police have launched an investigation into the murders of Daniele De Santis, 33, who officiated predominately in Serie C – Italy’s third-highest soccer division, reportedly was killed on Monday along with his partner and model Eleonora Manta, 30.
No arrests have been made and the culprit who remains unknown is still at large. Police have launched an investigation into the murders of De Santis and Manta.
Italian media report a male suspect was seen fleeing caught the scene holding a knife.
According to Italian publication La Repubblica, De Santis’ body was found on the second-floor staircase of their apartment complex, with Manta’s discovered inside their home.
Furthermore it is claimed that the suspect man was seen running from the scene with a knife after neighbors were alerted by screaming.
Police are yet to formally identify a suspect, possibly because the effectiveness of the CCTV cameras near the crime scene was reduced because the man in question ‘acted with his face covered and was seen leaving the door with a backpack on his shoulders.’
Tributes have poured in for De Santis and Manta from various people within Italian football.
Head of the Italian Referee Association Marcello Nicchi has expressed his distress at the woeful news.
‘I am shocked by this tragedy,’ he told Gazzetto dello Sport.
‘We still know very little about the case. The thing I can say is that we are in close contact with the family and with all the people in the section [of the association].’
The Italian Professional soccer League, from which De Santis officiated in, have also echoed Nicchi’s sentiments.
‘No words can describe our pain for the premature death of referee Daniele De Santis and his partner Eleonora,’ they tweeted on Tuesday.
‘We want to remember him with the smile of when he was on the pitch and for his great passion for Serie C, which he considered a family.’
Former Serie C president also announced a heartfelt tribute: ‘No words can express the grief of the Pro Liga, its officials, clubs and players for the premature death of referee Daniele De Santis and his partner Eleonora,’ he said.
We remember his smile when on the pitch and his passion for Serie C, which he regarded as a family.
‘Violence destroys, and it has taken away two young people with hopes and dreams. It is the number one enemy to oppose in all its forms.’
De Santis had officiated 130 competitive matches and was due to officiate Wednesday night’s first-round Coppa Italia match between Monopoli and Modena.