The family of a pensioner missing from north London say her disappearance is “totally out of character” and desperately appealed for witnesses to come forward as detectives launched a murder investigation.
Norma Girolami, 70, was reported missing to police on September 20 from Elm Court, Highgate.
Police have urged her to come forward but after making enquiries are increasingly concerned she has been harmed, sparking a murder probe.
Two people, a woman aged 34 and a 39-year-old man, have been arrested on suspicion of murder.
Her cousin Jack Girolami told the Standard that his Norma had last spoken to the family in July and had not responded to a text message in August which sounded alarm bells.
Mr Girolami, 66, said: “We are worried sick, this is totally out of character for Norma. We thought she may have gone to Italy where the family are from to spread her dad’s ashes but we don’t think that is the case now.
“We don’t know what to think we used to live round the corner to her so would see her all the time. When we moved our daughter who lives in London saw her fairly regularly and messaged her when she didn’t hear back. She was worried.
“She was very comfortably off, wealthy but not mega rich. She sold a house in Highgate and inherited her dad’s house in Enfield. She was also a bit gullible and was trusting in people which is a bit worrying.”
He said she regularly swam and met friends in the West End for afternoon’s out as well as being a regular at her Catholic Church in Highgate.
He added: “She was always very smart and loved a manicure. She was also a doting family person and churchgoer. She always sent cards on the birthdays of children in the family. She missed one recently though which also struck us as very strange.
“She used to holiday in Egypt and go back to Italy regularly. At one stage she said she had met someone in Egypt but I don’t know the details. I would appeal for anyone with information to come forward - she’s such a good person we are desperate for information.”
The arrested pair had their charges escalated from fraud and false imprisonment to murder after being arrested on October 1.
The man arrested in Islington remains in custody whereas the woman has been bailed to return later this month.
DCI Kate Blackburn, said: “Norma has not been seen by her friends or family since the middle of August. As a result of our investigation we are extremely concerned that Norma may have come to some harm.
“Her home shows no sign of her planning to leave, food was left in her fridge and she said nothing to her friends and relatives. This is completely out of character and as more and more time has passed, this has only added to our fears that some harm has come to her.
“In view of these concerns for her welfare, and to stop the anguish her friends and relatives are enduring, it is imperative that anyone with information contacts police.
“If anyone knows anything about where Norma may be, has witnessed anything from mid-August to mid-September in the area that Norma lived or if you know anything about what may have happened to Norma, then please contact police.
“Your information, no matter how trivial you might think it is, could be the vital information that helps us find Norma.
“Norma, if you are safe and well please get in touch with the police.”
Norma’s neighbours on Monday described her as “a lovely lady” and expressed their shock at her disappearance which was “like a scene from a crime drama”.
Nicola Marinelli said: “Norma is a nice woman, quite reserved but friendly. She had lived here a few years. We used to talk about the weather and pass the time of day. She didn’t have many visitors and no one suspicious was seen in the block.
“It’s like a crime scene in TV, it’s a real mystery.”
Another neighbour said: “She’s a lovely lady. I have spoken to the police but I couldn’t be of much help. There was nothing at all to suggest that something like this could happen. We are in shock.”
Any witnesses or anyone with any information is asked to call police on 101 or contact via Twitter @MetCC. Please quote CAD 4006/01OCT. To give information anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.