Thailand: Italian father retrieves remains of daughter lost in tsunami after yearlong search

An Italian father, who spent almost a year searching for a daughter swept away by last year's Asian tsunami, has retrieved her remains after they were cremated by a Thai family, an official said Wednesday.

Cataldo Torelli, 47, who also lost his Japanese wife and sister, launched an intensive search for his 13-year-old daughter after the giant waves swept through a resort in southern Thailand last December.

Torelli, who has a textile business in Fukuoka, Japan, flew to Thailand regularly, placed advertisements in Thai newspapers with her picture and offered a 100,000 baht (US$2,383; Ђ1,990) reward for information about her fate.

"Torelli found and retrieved the bones and ashes of his daughter last week and ended his nearly one year of searching," said Col. Khemarin Saisiri of the Disaster Victim Identification Unit in Phuket province.

The body of Lea Dina Torelli was given to a family in Lampang province in northern Thailand who believed it was that of their daughter. The body was cremated at a Buddhist ceremony but some bones and ashes were kept by the family, Khemarin said.

Japanese police investigators, who helped Torelli in his search, confirmed last month through dental and DNA tests that the body cremated in Lampang was that of his daughter.

The identification center has said that eight bodies have been misidentified and that the bodies or remains were later given to the right families.

Nearly 5,400 people died and another 2,817 went missing in Thailand when the massive waves crashed into the country's southwest coast. Many of the victims in Thailand were foreigners vacationing at beach resorts on the Andaman Sea coast, reported AP. P.T.

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