The Vatican on Monday said it was opening a fresh probe into Emanuela Orlandi. The 15-year-old Vatican teenager mysteriously disappeared while returning home from a flute lesson in Rome on 22 June 1983.
The Vatican’s justice promoter, Alessandro Diddi, will make fresh inquiries into the disappearance of the 15-year-old girl, who was a citizen of Vatican City. The probe has been opened on the basis of suits filed in the past by her brother Pietro, sources said.
Italy’s most famous unsolved mystery
Emanuela was the fourth of five children of Ercole and Maria Orlandi (née Pezzano). Her father was a worker at the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), the Vatican Bank), according to some reports; or an employee of the papal household, according to others. The family lived inside Vatican City. The children had the free run of the Vatican gardens, according to Pietro Orlandi, Emanuela’s older brother. Orlandi went to secondary school in Rome.
Sightings of Orlandi have been reported over the years but all have been unreliable. The girl’s disappearance sparked an intense media frenzy in Italy. As a result, the case is known as “Italy’s most famous unsolved mystery”.
Although the school year had concluded, Orlandi continued to take flute lessons three times per week at the Tommaso Ludovico Da Victoria School. She was also part of the choir of the church of Sant’Anna dei Palafrenieri, in the Vatican. Another girl of the same age also went missing that summer.
In July 2019, the tombs of two princesses in the Vatican’s Teutonic Cemetery, opened in a search for Orlandi’s body, were found empty.
In late November 2018, Rome prosecutors said bones found in an annex to the Vatican’s nunciature to Italy do not belong to Emanuela Orlandi or the other girl, Mirella Gregori. Analysis of the remains showed that they date back to before 1964 and belong to a man, the sources said.
Lots of theories
The Orlandi case has spawned several theories over the years. One theory is she was murdered to gain traction to have pope John Paul II’s Turkish shooter Mehmet Ali Agca freed. Another, that organised crime was involved. Ali Agca was questioned in the case.
Six other people, including a priest, were implicated in the investigations on suspicion of complicity in abduction and murder. All but one had links with the Banda della Magliana, a now-defunct crime gang based in Rome.
However, in 2016 investigations into the case were shelved.