Vatican tombs opened in Orlandi case found empty

People open tombs in a cemetery on the Vatican's grounds

People open tombs in a cemetery on the Vatican's grounds

Pietro Orlandi, who is now 60 years old, said some people in the Vatican might have been involved in his sister's disappearance.

The Vatican agreed to open two tombs near the angel, that of Princess Sophie von Hohenlohe, who died in 1836, and Princess Charlotte Frederica of Mecklenburg, who died in 1840.

Vatican officials are now studying documents about the cemetery to try to ascertain structural changes that were made in the 19th century and between the 1960's and 70's and when the bones of the two princesses may have been removed.

The family of Emanuela Orlandi, 15, the daughter of a Vatican bank employee, received an anonymous tip-off a year ago that she was buried "where the angel looks".

In March, there was a glimmer of hope, when Orlandi's family received a freakish tip from unnamed people that the girl's remains could be in a Vatican cemetery "where an angel was pointing".

The site turned out to be Vatican's Teutonic Cemetery, a small graveyard beyond St. Peter's Basilica which serves as a resting place for German and Flemish-speaking Vatican residents. His tomb was opened in 2012 but nothing was revealed. She was the 15 year-old-daughter of a Vatican bank employee whose family lived inside Vatican City.

A statement said the graves would be opened on 11 July in the presence of representatives of the missing girl's family.

Last year, two set of remains were found during renovations in the basement of a building on the grounds of the Vatican's embassy in Rome.

Prior to this morning's work, Vatican officials had said that DNA tests were to be carried out on the bones found and the results would be known in a number of weeks.

The Vatican confirmed that "the outcome of the search has been negative", according to ANSA.

Orlandi's mother still lives in Vatican City, close to the Teutonic Cemetery. After searching for Emanuela incessantly for three decades, the family's lawyer had said they wouldn't be happy "if they find Emanuela's corpse just 200 yards from their home". Some have said she was kidnapped by the Mafia to put pressure on the Vatican to cough up a loan.

"There was new cement on it, but we didn't know why or when, we were given no information", Sgro said.

Emanuela's disappearance in 1983 is one of the most enduring modern mysteries of the headquarters of the Catholic Church and has been the subject of much speculation by Italian media.

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". They dug under one of the tombs and found a room underneath completely empty.

However, they've uncovered more a mystery that could stretch back over a century.

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