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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 7 April, 2020

Vatican to open tombs in search for teenage girl missing since 1983

Emanuela Orlandi was last seen leaving a music class aged 15 in June 1983.

Image: Shutterstock/lucarista

THE VATICAN IS to exhume two graves in a small cemetery tomorrow at the request of the family of a teenager who went missing in 1983. 

Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican employee, was last seen leaving a music class aged 15 in June 1983. 

Theories have circulated for decades about who took her and where her body may lie.

The tombs will be opened tomorrow after the family’s lawyer received an anonymous tip-off with a picture of an angel-topped grave in the Teutonic Cemetery.

The Vatican said it was acting on a request by the Orlandi family to look into “the possible concealment of her body” there.

The small, leafy cemetery, usually the last resting place for German-speaking members of Catholic institutions, lies beyond St Peter’s Basilica in an area off limits to tourists.

Their remains will be removed and examined on site by a forensic anthropologist who is expected to roughly date the bones – depending on their condition – and extract material for a DNA analysis.

According to some theories widely circulated in Italian media, the teen was abducted by a mobster gang to put pressure on the Vatican to recover a loan.

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

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