Lifestyle & Human Interest

36 Years After Teen Vanished, Vatican Orders Tombs Unsealed, Hoping To Finally Solve Mystery


The Vatican has ordered two tombs near St. Peter’s Basilica to be opened; it is the latest lead on the 36-year-old missing persons case for Emanuela Orlandi.

“After 35 years of lack of cooperation, the start of an investigation is an important breakthrough,” Emanuela’s brother, Pietro Orlandi, told the Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata.

Emanuela was only 15 years old when she went missing from Rome during the summer of 1983. She was last seen leaving a flute lesson at the Sant’Apollinare basilica.

Her disappearance occurred only one month after another 15-year-old girl, Mirella Gregori, had also disappeared.

It’s been 36 years since that tragic day, but Emanuela’s case still remains unsolved.

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Some speculate that Emanuela was kidnapped as leverage to free Turkish shooter Mehmet Ali Agca after he shot and wounded Pope John Paul II because of her father’s role with the Vatican Bank.

Others believed that she was never killed but has been held hostage for all of these years; she would be 51 years old.

But neither of these theories have been confirmed.

Despite the pleas from Emanuela’s family and pressure from a 2016 film, the Vatican stopped actively investigating the missing girl’s case in 2016.

A demonstrator holds a poster of Emanuela Orlandi reading “Missing” during Pope Benedict XVI’s Regina Coeli noon prayer in St. Peter’s square, at the Vatican on May 27, 2012. (Filippo Monteforte / Getty Images)

Last summer Emanuela’s family requested that the Vatican open the tombs after their family lawyer, Laura Sgro, received an anonymous note to “seek where the angel indicates.”

That mysterious note led the family to the Teutonic Cemetery where an angel statue points to the tombs in question; the angel also holds a piece of paper that says “Rest in Peace” in Latin.

According to the Daily Mail, the tombs are inscribed in memory of archbishop Pope Pio IX and his wife.

Sgro also revealed that she told the Vatican that she had been able to “verify that some people knew there was a chance Orlandi’s body had been hidden in the German cemetery.”

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Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti announced on Tuesday, July 2, 2019, that the Holy See decided to honor the family’s request and said that the tombs would be opened on July 11th.

People all over Italy have been closely watching Emanuela’s case from the beginning and this could be the break investigators need to solve the case.

“I don’t want them to open this tomb to do me a favour,” Pietro Orlandi said. “I want the truth to emerge”

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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