Italian football is in mourning on Tuesday after news emerged that referee Daniele De Santis and his fiancee were murdered in their home in Lecce, according to a report from La Repubblica.
Details remain scarce on the specifics of the incident, but early reports emerging from Italy state that De Santis, 33, and his fiancee, Eleonora Manta, 30, were stabbed to death inside their home on Monday.
Preliminary reports also suggest that several people witnessed a man running from the scene while carrying a knife.
One body is understood to have been found on the stairs of the apartment complex, and another inside their home.
Police have launched an investigation into the double murder but have yet to formally identify a suspect and continue to investigate the scene. However, initial reports have suggested that police are seeking a man who appears to be around 60 years of age.
The investigation will initially center around CCTV footage from the area, while it has also been reported that the suspect attempted to conceal their face, suggesting that the incident was premeditated.
We are shocked after having known that 33 Years Old Italian Serie C referee Daniele De Santis from Lecce has been murdered with his girlfriend last night. May they rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/CgDxqWIGyi
“I am shocked by this tragedy,” Marcello Nicchi, head of the Italian Referee Association, told Gazzetto via translation.
“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].”
De Santis, who became a referee in 2017, has officiated around 130 matches in Serie C and Serie D – the third and fourth tiers of Italian domestic football.