Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a Curia employee, disappeared almost 40 years ago. The girl was also a citizen of the Vatican. What happened to the 15 year old?
Almost 40 years after the mysterious disappearance of a 15-year-old girl in the Vatican, the judiciary of the Papal States has opened an official investigation for the first time.
The prosecutors want to investigate the suspicion and the indications that Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a curial employee and a citizen of the Vatican, was kidnapped or murdered.
The teenager did not come home on June 22, 1983 after a music lesson in the historic center of Rome. A body was never found. The case is considered one of the greatest mysteries in recent Italian criminal history.
On Monday evening, investigations from the Vatican were confirmed after the Adnkronos news agency was the first to report the new development.
The Vatican initially gave no information on the basis on which the new investigations were initiated. According to their lawyer, the Orlandi family was not initially informed of the details either. “We don’t know what the Vatican will do,” said attorney Laura Sgro.
In the meantime, the brother of the missing person has spoken out. He’s happy about the move. “This is good news,” Pietro Orlandi told the newspaper “La Stampa” on Tuesday.
“I am convinced that there are many people in the Vatican, including those in high positions, who know what happened at the time.”
There have been countless rumors and theories surrounding the case over the four decades: for example, that Orlandi was kidnapped to free the Pope’s assassin, Ali Agca; that the young woman was abused by a senior Curia official; that the Roman mafia clan Banda della Magliana is involved in the case.
Nevertheless, to this day it has not been clarified what happened to Orlandi. As the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” reports, over the years there have been repeated indications of where the girl could be buried.
Several graves were opened, according to the report, including one in the crypt of the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare and one in the German cemetery in the Vatican, Campo Santo Teutonico. Orlandi’s body never showed up.
The case is so mysterious that a separate Netflix series (“Vatican Girl”) was recently published. It shows various scenarios and suspicious elements around the Orlandi case.
As reported by the Italian media, the Vatican’s main prosecutor, Alessandro Diddi, now wants to re-examine all the evidence and documents from back then and hear witnesses, including cardinals.
At the end of 2015, the public prosecutor’s office in Rome archived the case. Orlandi’s relatives then turned to the Vatican and directly to Pope Francis.
Observers speculate that the pontiff himself may have put the pressure on recently. The recently deceased Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. and his private secretary Georg Gänswein appear in the case.
Pietro Orlandi is convinced that Gänswein knows something about a Vatican file – the German archbishop himself said this to the lawyer for the bereaved.
But in a book out this week, Gänswein writes, “I’ve never compiled anything related to the Orlando case. This phantom dossier has not been disclosed simply because it does not exist.”