Police investigate mystery deaths in Scotland of American oil executive’s 3 children

By Ben Mcconville, AP
Friday, August 6, 2010

Mystery over death of US oil executive’s children

EDINBURGH, Scotland — An American oil industry executive described his grief Friday after police launched an inquiry into the mystery death of his three children at a Scottish town house.

Pasquale Riggi, a 46-year-old from Colorado, said in a statement his family was struggling to come to terms with the loss of 8-year-old twins Augustino and Gianluca and their sister Cecilia, five.

The children were discovered following a gas explosion at a house in Edinburgh, but are not thought to have died as a result of the blast.

Their American mother Theresa Riggi, also 46, is in serious but stable condition in hospital after apparently falling from an upper story of the Edinburgh house.

Police said they are investigating the circumstances of the deaths and have interviewed the children’s father, but confirmed he is not a suspect in the case.

The husband and wife were contesting the custody of their children. Scotland’s Judicial Communications Office said the couple had been due to attend court hearings in the custody case this week.

Police said Riggi and her children had been reported missing from the family’s home in Aberdeen, a port town about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Edinburgh, on July 21.

“Our family is struggling to come to terms with the immense and tragic loss of three beautiful children,” Pasquale Riggi said in a statement issued by Edinburgh’s Lothian and Borders police department.

Police said autopsies were being carried out on the children Friday.

Pasquale Riggi grew up in Colorado, where he attended Denver’s Regis Jesuit High School, graduating in 1982. He serves as an executive with Royal Dutch Shell PLC in Scotland, and had previously worked with the company in the Netherlands.

Associated Press Writer Peter Banda in Denver, Colorado, contributed to this report.

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