SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

Human remains found at Vatican property could crack 1983 mysteries

Rome police are investigating whether bones found on Monday are connected with the mysterious disappearances of two teenage girls.

Human remains found at Vatican property could crack 1983 mysteries
The Vatican City in Rome. Photo: anshar/Depositphotos

The human remains were discovered at a Rome property owned by the Vatican, the Holy See said Tuesday, in a potential breakthrough for police investigating one of Italy's darkest mysteries.

“During restoration works in a space annexed to the Apostolic Nunciature of Italy… fragments of human bone were found,” the Vatican said in a statement, in reference to the diplomatic office of the Holy See in Rome.

A police investigation is underway to establish the age and gender of the body and date of death. 

Media reports said the remains were discovered on Monday.

Detectives will be looking in particular at whether they are a DNA match for Emanuela Orlandi or Mirella Gregori, both of whom were underage when they went missing separately in Rome in 1983.

Orlandi was the daughter of a member of the Vatican's police, and was last seen on June 22, 1983 when leaving a music class.

Theories have circulated that the then 15-year-old was kidnapped by an organised crime gang to put pressure on Vatican officials to recover a loan.

A memorial held in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican to commemorate Emanuela Orlandi’s disappearance. Photo: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP

Another claim was that she was taken to force the release from prison of Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turk who attempted to assassinate Pope Jean Paul II in 1981.

Her brother Pietro has been leading a decades-long campaign to find out what happened to her and has accused the Vatican of silence and even complicity in the case.

The Vatican has said on several occasions that it has cooperated with Italian police over the case.

Gregori, another 15-year-old student, disappeared exactly 40 days before Orlandi.

Her mother says Gregori answered the intercom at the family apartment before telling her parents it was a school friend and she was going out to speak to him. She never returned.

The two girls did not know each other.

Investigators have not ruled out that the cases could be connected. 

READ ALSO:

CRIME

Italy records sharp rise in femicides over the past year

Murders of women in Italy increased by nearly 16 percent over the past year, with the vast majority committed by a partner or ex-partner.

Italy records sharp rise in femicides over the past year

Data from Italy’s interior ministry on Monday showed there were 125 femicides between 1 August 2021 and 31 July 2022, compared with 108 during the same period in the previous year.

Of that number, the vast majority of murders — 108 — were committed within the family sphere or an emotional context, while 68 murders, or 63 percent of the total, were committed by the victim’s partner or ex-partner, data showed.

There were a total of 319 murders in Italy in the period.

The numbers show that, on average, a woman is killed every three days in Italy.

READ ALSO: ANALYSIS: ‘Violence against women conditions every aspect of our lives’

According to a November report by the European Institute for Gender Equality, Italy came in ninth out of 15 EU member states for the number of murders of women by intimate partners, based on 2018 data.

It came in tenth when looking at homicide committed by family members and relatives.

Womens’ rights campaigners say attitudes must change in Italy, where cases of violent crimes committed against women by their partners or ex-partners are often portrayed in the media as tragic stories of love gone sour, with the killers described as “jealous”.

READ ALSO: Almost half of Italian women report suffering sexual harassment

Almost 3.5 million women in Italy have been victims of stalking, according to data from national statistics agency Istat – but only 22 percent of those report the act or seek help.

Around one in three Italian women suffer abuse at some point in their life.

Femicide commonly refers to the killing of a girl or woman by a partner or family member.

SHOW COMMENTS