The remains of up to six bodies have been in found in a cave in Sicily, southern Italy. Skulls and human bones were discovered by police in the Casalotto district of Roccamena, along with clothes and women's shoes.

The national gendarmerie known as the Carabinieri and forensic investigators claimed the cave was a "mafia graveyard", La Repubblica di Palermo newspaper reported. The investigation is being conducted by Palermo's public prosecutor's office.

Authorities said news of the graveyard had come from a "confidential source". Investigators believe the cave, difficult to access and not yet fully examined, could have been used by the Corleone mafia to dumb bodies in the 1950s.

The killings could be a case of Lupara Bianca, a mafia-style slaying with the aim of ensuring the human remains are never found. According to this method, victims' bodies may be buried in the countryside, covered with concrete on building sites or dissolved in acid.

In October 2009, witness Lea Garofalo who testified against the Calabria-based mafia known as 'Ndrangheta was killed and her body was dissolved in acid. Garofalo collaborated with authorities to expose internal feuds within her family and that of her ex-partner.

A year later, some ex-mafiosi turned informers told authorities about the murder and said Garofalo had been interrogated by her executioners before she was killed.