A vicious mob hit on a three-year-old toddler, shot at point-blank range alongside his grandfather in an apparent retaliation for an unpaid debt, has outraged Italy.
Three-year-old Nicola “Coco” Campolongo never had a chance at a normal life. Born to drug pushers in the tiny suburb of Cosenza, Calabria, in the heart of ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate’s territory in southern Italy, the only time the toddler had seen his parents since June 10, 2011 was when someone found time to take him to visit them in prison.Last week, young “Coco” was shot in the head along with his grandfather, 52-year-old Giuseppe Iannicelli, and his grandfather’s Moroccan companion, 27-year-old Ibtissa Taoussa, whom the child knew as “Aunt Betty.” Their skeletal remains were found in a burnt out Fiat Punto that had been doused with gas and set alight behind an abandoned farmhouse. A shiny 50-euro-cent coin was found on the roof of the burnt-out car, leading local investigators to assume the triple-assassination was a vendetta for an unpaid drug debt. Coco’s grandfather had been convicted of dealing narcotics and was serving out an eight-year suspended sentence under nocturnal house arrest. When he failed to check in with police, investigators went looking for him, assuming he had skipped town with his girlfriend and young Coco in tow. A few days later, a hunter spotted the burnt-out Fiat and alerted authorities who discovered the macabre scene inside. Iannicelli’s body was found in the car’s trunk and his young companion was in the front passenger seat. Coco’s charred remains were found in a carseat in the back seat of the car.
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