The Vatican has launched a new investigation into the 1983 disappearance of the 15-year-old daughter of one of its employees.
The case of Emanuela Orlandi has come under intense scrutiny in recent months following the release of an investigative Netflix documentary called “Vatican Girl.”
Orlandi, who was the daughter of a prominent Vatican employee and lived within the walls of the holy city, disappeared in the summer of 1983 while returning home from a music lesson in central Rome.
The Vatican confirmed in a statement on Monday that Alessandro Diddi, the Vatican’s promoter of justice, would open a new investigation into the case.
The director of the press department of the Holy See, Matteo Bruni, said that the opening of the case was “also in response to several requests of the family”.
Orlandi disappeared on June 22, 1983, after a lesson at a music school adjacent to the Sant’Apollinare Opus Dei Catholic Church near Piazza Navona in Rome.
Her father, Ercole Orlandi, who died in 2004, worked for the Institute for Religious Works at the Holy See. Her mother, Maria Orlandi, still lives in the family apartment in the Vatican. Her brother Pietro Orlandi spent his life trying to find out what happened to his sister, often accusing the Vatican of hiding information.
Mark Lewis’ four-part Netflix series released last year highlighted several prominent conspiracy theories, including that her kidnapping was linked to Mehmet Ali Agca, who was in prison at the time for attempting to assassinate John Paul II. on Petrské náměstí in 1981.
Orlandi’s disappearance is also linked to the Band of Magliana criminal gang, whose leader Enrico de Pedis was buried in the church of Sant’Apollinare until the Vatican exhumed his bones in 2012 at the request of the girl’s family, who thought she might be buried with him. Then in 2012, the Vatican’s chief exorcist, Gabriele Amorth, claimed that Orlandi was kidnapped by the Vatican police as part of a sex ring.
Human remains were found in 2018 at the Embassy of the Holy See in Italy in central Rome and were unsuccessfully tested for a DNA match to the missing girl.
A year later, the Vatican agreed to exhume the tombs of the two princesses believed to be buried in the cemetery of the Pontifical Teutonic College in the Vatican. The remains of the princess were not found in the tomb, nor were Orlandi’s, but two ossuaries were found under a secret door in the graveyard.
Lewis interviewed Orlandi’s mother and sisters, who had never been interviewed before, as well as the chief investigator of the Italian police at the time. He used an old missing persons poster design with Orlandi’s photo as the primary advertisement for the series, bringing new attention to the case.
Orlandi’s brother Pietro confirmed to CNN that he staged a sit-in in St. Peter’s Square to mark her birthday on January 14. Lewis confirmed to CNN that a number of cult fans of the Netflix series are expected to attend.
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