Vatican to dig up graves in search for missing teen

Lester Mason
July 13, 2019

A search of tombs in the heart of the Vatican for the remains of a teenage girl who went missing 36 years ago has failed to find her body.

Family lawyer Laura Sgro reported receiving an anonymous letter earlier this year with a photo of an angel on a Vatican cemetery, and a message that read "Look where the angel is pointing". "No human remains or funeral urns were found", Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said. Instead, the gravesite inspections raised only new questions: what happened to the remains of the two princesses who were buried in the side-by-side tombs in 1836 and 1840, respectively, in peaceful Teutonic Holy Field near St. Peter's Basilica?

Experts were looking for the remains of Emanuela Orlandi, the 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican clerk who never made it home after a music lesson in 1983.

The Vatican court's promoter of justice ordered the two tombs to be opened after a petition from Orlandi's family.

Not only was the body of Emanuela Orlandi not found, but neither were the remains of Princess Carlotta Federica or Princess Sophie von Hohenlohe.

The tombs of two princesses in the Vatican's Teutonic Cemetery have been opened and found to be empty. Her disappearance at age 15 has been the subject of worldwide intrigue, including suspicion about the Vatican's role, since it occurred.

Gisotti said that under a marble slab that was believed to be Princess Sophie's tomb there was a large subterranean opening, measuring four meters by 3.7 meters (13 feet by 12 feet), "completely empty".


Following the opening, the Vatican said in a statement that it "wants to reiterate that it has always expressed attention and closeness to the suffering of the Orlandi family, especially Emanuela's mother".

The family has received a number of clues over the 36 years since Orlandi's disappearance, including one involving bone and teeth fragments found during a construction project.

"The DNA test will be done in any case, in order to be certain and to exclude definitively and categorically the chance that any remains in the two tombs are attributable to poor Emanuela", he said. He is the Turk who attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981.

"The tomb had obviously been recently opened, there was new cement on it, but we didn't know why or when, we were given no information", Sgro told CBS News.

The Vatican tribunal ordered both tombs to be opened, however, as they are immediately next to each other and they have "similar mausoleums - in order to avoid possible misunderstandings about which grave is the indicated grave". DNA tests came back negative. As in, they didn't find the remains of Emanuela, but nor did they find the remains of either princess.

The Vatican's next step following the discovery, Gisotti explained, will be to look into documentation about structural renovations that took place in the cemetery at the end of the 1800s and in the 1960s and '70s.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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