Woman, 22, found dead of blood loss, neck wound in abandoned Italian church

File - A church in Saint-Nicholas, a town in the Aosta Valley of Italy. A 22-year-old woman was found dead in an abandoned church (not pictured) in the Aosta Valley with a deep wound on her neck. BlueRed/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A 22-year-old French woman was found dead in an abandoned and deconsecrated church in northern Italy last week after bleeding out from a deep wound to her neck.

The mysterious killing has been the subject of much speculation in Italy, especially after a witness came forward saying he saw the woman with her boyfriend, days before she died, and described the pair as “two vampires.”

The woman was “very beautiful, but suffering, emaciated,” the witness said, while the man had “black curls and an olive complexion.”

“They were dressed like two goths, all in dark. Like those kids who venerate death. I thought: two vampires. And I also thought something else, for which I now feel very ashamed. She was so pale that she looked like a corpse. I can’t sleep anymore knowing what happened,” the witness told the newspaper La Stampa.

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The woman was found inside the ruined church on April 5, in the forests of Aosta Valley near the French and Swiss borders. She had been stabbed several times in the neck and abdomen, and medical examiners determined she died from blood loss from the neck wound, reports ANSA, an Italian newswire agency. It appeared that she died sometime in late March or early April.

There were blood stains and drag marks on the ground of the former church, signs that her body had been moved inside. Police also found a large stone covered in blood, according to L’Union Sarda, an Italian regional newspaper. Next to her body was a packet of marshmallows and pieces of garbage.

The victim was identified as Auriane Nathalie Laisne, a 22-year-old woman from Lyon, France, during a Thursday press conference held by the chief prosecutor of Aosta, Luca Ceccanti. Laisne’s boyfriend, Teima Sohaib, has been arrested for her murder, the prosecutor revealed.

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Sohaib, a 21-year-old Italian-Egyptian man, was arrested by gendermarie in Lyon, Ceccanti announced. He is accused of premeditating the murder of his girlfriend.

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Ceccanti also revealed that Sohaib has a prior arrest for domestic violence against his girlfriend, and a restraining order was issued by the court in Grenoble, France, ordering him to stay away from Laisne. He was due for trial on May 3.

It appears the couple did not break up, however, Ceccanti said Thursday. The pair took a bus to Italy on March 25 and were stopped by border police for a routine check. They were then seen by witnesses near the town of La Salle, in the Aosta Valley.

While a murder weapon has yet to be found, police believe Sohaib fatally stabbed Laisne with a knife. Her body was then moved into the fetal position and a stone was placed behind her back to prevent her from rolling over.

A local resident found her body on Friday during a hike.

Snow covers the roofs of homes in La Salle, Italy, a town surrounded by mountains and forests. Michele Ursi/Getty Images

Ceccanti described Laisne and Sohaib’s relationship as “not serene,” and he told reporters that he believes Sohaib killed his girlfriend because he was possessive over her.

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Before news of Sohaib’s arrest broke, CNN reported that local police were looking into whether a TikTok “ghost hunting” competition or a social media prank gone awry may have played a role in Laisne’s death. Police also theorized that her death was a “consented murder” or sacrifice.

Before leaving her home in Lyon, Laisne allegedly told family members that she was looking for a haunted house believed to contain ghosts, CNN reports. Her relatives travelled to Aosta to identify her body after they weren’t able to get in touch with her anymore and became concerned.

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