Rome opens new investigation into ‘Vatican Girl’ disappearance

AFP - [email protected]
Rome opens new investigation into ‘Vatican Girl’ disappearance
People hold a banner in the memory of Emanuela Orlandi, who disappeared in 1983 in one of Italy's darkest mysteries. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP.

Rome prosecutors have opened a fresh investigation into the disappearance of a teenager 40 years ago, and are calling for full collaboration from the Vatican, Italian media reported on Monday.


Emanuela Orlandi, the 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican employee, was last seen leaving a music class in Rome on June 22, 1983.

Decades of speculation followed over what happened to her, with suggestions that mobsters, the secret services or a Vatican conspiracy were to blame, theories which sparked a hit Netflix series.

The Orlandi family's lawyer Laura Sgro told AFP Monday she had learned of the fresh probe through Italian media reports, and "it would certainly be welcome news".

The family has campaigned tirelessly for the truth, and it was their demands which led in part to the Vatican launching an inquiry into its most famous cold case in January.

READ ALSO: Emanuela Orlandi disappearance: Vatican reopens 40-year-old case

Following that, "Rome Public Prosecutor's Office is now also formally returning to investigate the Orlandi case," Italy's Corriere della Sera said.

It will be the third investigation by the Rome office, following ones from 1983-1997, and 2008- 2015.

Laura Sgro, lawyer of the Orlandi family, talks to the press at the Vatican's Holy Office in Rome on April 11, 2023. . Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP.

'Seek the truth together'

The Vatican has been accused of obstructing investigation efforts over the decades.

But now its chief prosecutor Alessandro Diddi and Rome prosecutors led by Francesco Lo Voi "are cooperating on the case", the Repubblica daily said.

The Corriere said "the hope is for 'full cooperation' - an exchange of documents, depositions etc".

The Vatican has interviewed clerics in recent weeks as part of its investigation, the paper added.


It would be "the first time Italian and Vatican prosecutors work together to seek the truth", Sgro said.

The fresh Italian investigation was driven in part by former prosecutor Giancarlo Capaldo's claims that he had spoken during the last probe to two representatives at the Vatican who had promised to reveal the whereabouts of Orlandi's body, the Corriere said.

One of the most widely circulated theories claims Orlandi was snatched by mobsters to put pressure on the Vatican to recover a loan.

Enrico De Pedis, head of the Magliana gang, was suspected of involvement in her kidnapping.

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

The twists and turns of the case were documented in a 2022 TV series byNetflix, "Vatican Girl".

In it, a friend also claimed the teen confided the week before she disappeared to having been harassed in the Vatican gardens by a figure close to then pope John Paul II.


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