Vatican tombs in Orlandi search found empty

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The tombs of two princesses in the Vatican’s Teutonic Cemetry, opened in a search for the body of Emanuela Orlandi, have been found empty, her brother said Thursday.

Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican worker, disappeared in summer 1983 at the age of 15.
The Vatican confirmed “the outcome of the search has been negative”.
The Vatican court’s promoter of justice ordered the two tombs to be opened after a petition from Orlandi’s family.

“The decision,” said Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti, “was taken within the context of one of the files opened following a petition by Emanuela Orlandi’s family who, as is well known, in recent months reported the possible burying of her body in the small cemetery situated in the territory of the Vatican State”.

In April the Vatican decided to open an internal probe into the case of Orlandi, a 15-year-old Vatican citizen who disappeared in the summer of 1983.

Vatican Emanuela Orlandi
A handout picture provided by the Vatican Media shows the opening of two tombs at the Teutonic Cemetery in relation to the investigations into the case of Emanuela Orlandi, Vatican City, 11 July 2019. EPA-EFE/VATICAN MEDIA

The Secretariat of State authorised the opening of an investigation into a grave in the Teutonic Cemetery inside the Vatican that some think may be Orlandi’s.

Orlandi’s brother Pietro said he had met Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin in the last few months, sometimes with his lawyer Laura Sgro’, and “we presented our requests”.

“After 35 years of lack of cooperation, the start of an investigation is an important breakthrough,” he said.    Speculation on Orlandi’s disappearance, and that of another 15-year-old girl in the same summer of 1983, has been rife over the years.

The Orlandi case has spawned several theories over the years, including that she was murdered to gain traction to have pope John Paul II’s Turkish shooter Mehmet Ali Agca freed, or that organised crime was involved.

In 2016 investigations into the case were shelved.



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