Mystery surrounding the disappearance of Italian teen Emanuela Orlandi grows as the age of the bones found at the Vatican embassy fuels wild speculation she was held captive

  • Late last month, two sets of bones were found beneath the flooring in the Vatican’s embassy to Italy in Rome.
  • The Italian media immediately reported that the bones were being investigated to determine whether they belong to either Emanuela Orlandi or Mirella Gregori, two local teens who disappeared in 1983.
  • Police have since dated the remains and believe that one set belongs to a woman in her 30s, and the other to an older person.
  • Meanwhile, more bones have been found at the embassy.

The discovery of bones, hidden beneath the flooring of the Vatican’s embassy to Italy late last month, has only grown more mysterious.

When news broke of the discovery last week, Italian media started reporting that the two sets of remains were being investigated in connection to the disappearances of Emanuela Orlandi and Mirella Gregori, teens who disappeared within days of each other in 1983.

Orlandi’s case was more high profile, as she was the daughter of a Vatican employee. She was last seen by friends getting on a bus on her way back home from a music lesson in Rome in June 1983.

Gregori disappeared a month earlier, after telling her family she was going out to meet a friend.

Coroner Giovanni Arcudi told Italian wire service ANSA that a preliminary examination of the bones shows one of the sets of remains appear to belong to a woman in her 30s and “not an adolescent.” The other set of bones were older, but it’s not known how much older.

The Associated Press reports that the age of the bones has only fuelled speculation that Orlandi was held captive for years before being killed.

Orlandi’s disappearance has captivated Italy, much in the way that JonBenĂ©t Ramsey’s murder has in America.

Over the years, several theories have sprung up in the media about why she went missing, including that she was killed in a satantic sex orgy or that she was still alive and the Catholic church was taking care of her in London.


Read more:
Here’s everything we know about the 1983 disappearance of 15-year-old Emanuela Orlandi

The most serious theory surfaced in 2008 when the former lover of an Italian gangster said that her late boyfriend had organised Orlandi’s kidnapping. That gangster’s tomb at a Roman basilica was later exhumed to see if Orlandi’s remains were buried with him, but that search went nowhere.

Meanwhile, police were sent back to the Vatican embassy (also called the Nunciature) this week and they found more bones, though more details on the third set of bones have not been released.

ANSA reports that, according to two sources, workers at the Nunciature actually found the first two sets of remains on October 26, and not October 29 as previously reported.

Apparently the decision to call the police was put off until Vatican officials could return to Rome to deal with the situation.

If true, it doesn’t reflect well on the Vatican, which has often been accused of having a hand in Orlandi’s disappearance. Orlandi’s brother Pietro has said on previous occasions that he believes Pope Francis knows what happened to his sister.

A lawyer for the family said they are still waiting on DNA results on the remains.

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