Ylenia Carrisi was a well-known figure in Italy, having been the daughter of two famous actors and musicians. However, she disappeared in 1994 under mysterious circumstances.
Her disappearance has confused many and has left multiple unanswered questions. This case remains unsolved, with it unclear if Ylenia will ever be found.
This article will review this disappearance. At the end of the article there is a reader’s poll which you are welcome to vote on. We will all be able to see what the majority opinion is among our readers as to what happened.
Ylenia Carrisi was born in November 1970. She was born into a well-known family, with her parents being Albano Carrisi and Romina Power – who were both musicians and actors. Her grandparents were actor Tyrone Power and Linda Christian.
Ylenia became known across Italy. She spent some time as the letter-turner on the Italian version of game show Wheel of Fortune. Ylenia studied Literature in London and successfully passed her first year.
At the end of her first year, Ylenia opted to travel and took a break from studying. She left with just a bag and a journal – having sold many belongings to help pay for her trip.
Ylenia did not plan on following in the footsteps of her parents and grandparents – and instead had dreams of becoming an author. She hoped to turn her journal into a book at the end of her travels.
Ylenia spent time in South America to begin with. By 26th December 1993, she had travelled to the state of Louisiana, the United States. Her brother Yari Carrisi went to join her on 27th December, but was unable to locate her.
Ylenia was last seen on 6th January 1994 in the French Quarter region of New Orleans, Louisiana. Exactly what happened to Ylenia in the hours or days following her last sighting is unknown.
At the time, Ylenia was staying at the LeDale Hotel with a man named Alexander Masakela – who was thirty years older than Ylenia. Masakela was a musician, who appeared to be close to Ylenia.
Ylenia was last seen leaving the hotel at approximately 11am on 6th January 1994. At some point over the next few hours or days, Ylenia vanished – never to be seen again.
It took until 18th January for Ylenia to be reported missing – with her parents sounding the alarm having not heard from her – with Yari also not finding her anywhere.
Due to Ylenia being a high-profile case, there was plenty of interest in the case by the media. Pressure was piled onto the Police to find her.
However, the Police didn’t have much to go on. Due to the length of time between her last sighting and the disappearance being reported, they struggled to find any clues.
Her parents visited the hotel and found almost all of Ylenia’s belongings in her room. This included her passport and her precious journals.
Suspicion was immediately placed on her roommate Alexander Masakela. Investigations found that Masakela stayed at the hotel until 14th January. When checking out, he tried to pay his bill using cheques made payable to Ylenia.
Within weeks of the last sighting of Ylenia, Masakela was arrested on an unrelated charge. However, he was eventually released. Masakela has always denied knowing what happened to Ylenia.
Elsewhere, a security guard named Albert Cordova came forward to state that he saw a woman that somewhat matched Ylenia’s appearance jump into the Mississippi River while saying “I belong in water”.
Cordova suggested that the woman got into difficulty and drowned. However, despite a large search of the river, no body was ever recovered, with this potential sighting being unable to be verified. The sighting did however happen on 6th January – making the dates consistent.
Moreover, Ylenia’s father mentioned that just 12 months prior, Ylenia had gone swimming in the same water, which she had to be rescued from. Ylenia was believed to be under the influence of marijuana at the time of her initial swim.
A month after her disappearance had been reported, her family issued a statement which suggested there had been “numerous and reliable sightings worthy of pursuit”, and that the family believed she was probably being “held against her will”.
Unfortunately, the investigation was unable to uncover anything of significance. As time went past, efforts to find Ylenia were scaled down. Her disappearance was left unsolved.
In the years since Ylenia vanishing, there has been very little news on her case. Her disappearance is well-known online, but no major developments have ever materialised. The Italian media has retained an interest in the case.
For Ylenia’s parents Albano Carrisi and Romina Power – the case has proven very difficult to deal with. The increased scrutiny from the media has only added to the difficulty.
The duo separated in 1999, with their divorce being finalised in 2012. They continued to remain on amicable terms and continued to perform together. Aside from Ylenia and Yari, they have two further children together.
There is very little information about Alexander Masakela. A Facebook account matching his name and picture remain online – though his identity cannot be verified.
In 2008, Freizeit Revue – a German women’s magazine – reported that Ylenia was still alive but living in a religious convent in Arizona. These claims were criticised as baseless by the Carrisi family – with no evidence suggesting this was accurate.
Ylenia Carrisi was declared legally dead in 2014 – at the request of her father. This was approved by a judge – which provided some form of closure to her family. Her whereabouts remain unknown, with the last confirmed sighting of her being on 6th January 1994.
There are many different theories that have been put forward to try and explain what happened to Ylenia. Sadly, most of these are consistent with the outcome of Ylenia having died.
We take a look at the evidence for each theory below:
Theory One: Ylenia Carrisi was kidnapped and killed by Alexander Masakela
Many suggest that Alexander Masakela – Ylenia’s roommate – was involved in her disappearance. It is possible that he kidnapped and later killed Ylenia, before disposing of her body somewhere.
Masakela was known to be an eccentric individual. He was known to rely on donations from others as part of being a street entertainer. The fact that he also tried to pay his hotel bill using cheques made payable to Ylenia was also suspicious.
However, Masakela has always denied any wrongdoing in the case. No evidence has ever been proven against him. If investigators had anything concrete, they surely would have re-arrested him.
Finally, if Masakela did end up killing Ylenia – he would have had to dispose of Ylenia’s body without anyone noticing or finding out – something that is difficult to achieve. There is very little evidence to accuse Masakela of any involvement.
Theory Two: Ylenia Carrisi was kidnapped and killed by a stranger
However, if Masakela was not involved, there is every chance that Ylenia was kidnapped and killed by someone else. A murder is a strong possibility in this case.
Sadly, there are many people that in an opportunistic moment would prey on someone beautiful like Ylenia. They may have killed her and later disposed of her body.
However, despite the Police’s investigations, no one else became a suspect. With a high-profile case like this, the Police committed substantial resources. The fact that no other suspect was found may suggest there wasn’t any murder.
Theory Three: Ylenia Carrisi died in the Mississippi River
A prominent theory in this case involves Ylenia Carrisi dying in the Mississippi River. This may have been in an act of suicide or an accidental death.
As mentioned earlier, security guard Albert Cordova went on record to say he saw someone resembling Ylenia going into the water on the day that Ylenia went missing. This would fit in with the timing of Ylenia’s disappearance.
Additionally, Ylenia had previously got into difficulty in the same water just a year ago – further increasing the chance it was her. The fact that her body has never been found may also support this theory – as bodies are often lost forever in large rivers.
However, the Carrisi family stated that Ylenia was not suicidal and had a lot to live for. Moreover, this entire theory rests on one person’s vision. If Cordova was mistaken – which is possible – then this entire episode may not have involved Ylenia. The river was also searched, but nothing was found – further placing doubt on this theory.
Theory Four: Ylenia Carrisi moved to a religious convent
A theory that was proposed in more recent years involves Ylenia allegedly moving to a religious convent in an attempt to get away from her life.
This theory emanated from a German magazine in 2008, which claimed that Ylenia was living in a religious convent in Arizona. Her mother lived in Sedona, Arizona at the time – which seems to be the only plausible reason for this theory.
It is unknown what led the magazine to report on this. The Carrisi family have dismissed such ideas. If this was accurate, then the chances are that she would have resurfaced or been spotted.
Ylenia was clearly a creative individual that had a bright future ahead of her. A move to a religious convent doesn’t seem to be in keeping with her personality. Above all, there seems to be no evidence to back up this theory.
With the above theories in mind, we now invite you to vote on the theory that you believe is the most accurate in the poll below.
The Ylenia Carrisi case has produced very little in the way of developments. Given the level of resources committed to this case, the lack of progress is surprising. Unfortunately, it seems that Ylenia is gone forever.
As the years pass, it is unknown if we will ever know what truly happened to Ylenia Carrisi. For her family, hope remains that she is still out there somewhere.