Pregnant Mother Dead After Stalking Oversight

An Italian prosecutor admitted that authorities likely underestimated the threat to a 26-year-old pregnant woman who was stabbed to death in her home on December 19, the Associated Press reported.

The victim, Vanessa Ballan, filed a complaint on October 26 alleging that her former lover Bujar Fandaj had climbed a gate attempting to get into her home in the Veneto region that she shared with her 4-year-old son and her companion. She alleged that Fandaj had been stalking and harassing her.

Authorities searched Fandaj’s house the next day but later labeled the complaint as not urgent after there were no further incidents of harassment or threats.

Prosecutor Marco Martani told reporters on December 20 that the decision to label the case not urgent “turned out to be unfounded.”

Martani said authorities saw no indication that further action had to be taken, explaining that the only step authorities could have taken to stop Ballan’s murder “would have been preventative detention.” However, “there were not sufficient elements” to warrant that action, Martani explained.

According to prosecutors, Fandaj broke a window to the house while Ballan was home alone. He then stabbed Ballan at least seven times using a knife from her kitchen.

Fandaj, a Kosovan national living in Italy, was arrested at his home later that night. A search of Fandaj’s home turned up a bag containing the hammer, other tools used for break-ins, and at least one knife.

Ballan and Fandaj started an affair last year which Bellan ended this summer. Soon after she broke it off, the threats began, with Fandaj frequently turning up at the grocery store where Bellan worked as a cashier.

Ballan’s brutal murder at the hands of an ex comes only a month after 22-year-old Giulia Cecchettin was found dead with her throat cut lying in a ditch in the Veneto region. Cecchettin disappeared after meeting with her ex-boyfriend.

The ex-boyfriend was later arrested in Germany and is currently held in an Italian jail.