Body found in well may be don's

August 27, 1999

ROME. The body of one of Italy's most eminent economists, who mysteriously disappeared 12 years ago, may be at the bottom of a well near Rome, according to a lawyer who bought the land.

Federico Caffe, whom a court declared dead last year, was professor of political economics at La Sapienza University, adviser to the Bank of Italy and government, a staunch Keynesian and advocate of the welfare state.

At dawn on April 15, 1987, Professor Caffe, 73, left the Rome apartment where he lived with his brother Alfonso. On his bedside table he left his reading spectacles and personal identification.

Police, friends, relatives, and teams of students searched but to no avail. A body found in the Tiber raised hopes, but it was too big: Professor Caffe was under five foot.

Various television programmes covered the mystery but none of the many "sightings" reported led anywhere.

According to friends, Professor Caffe had been depressed by his health, tax problems and even the liberal turn of economics. But no close relatives would confirm these hypotheses. The case will now be reopened.

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