Vatican mystery over missing girl deepens; bones found

Vatican mystery over missing girl deepens; bones found

Vatican mystery over missing girl deepens; bones found

The ossuaries will be opened for testing on July 20, Vatican authorities said, in hopes of determining whose remains are inside, the Catholic News Agency reported.

Each excavation and discovery is only deepening the mystery.

Orlandi vanished in 1983 after leaving her family's Vatican City apartment to go to a music lesson in Rome.

Her disappearance - and speculation that the Vatican could have somehow played a role - has transfixed Italy in the ensuing decades.

Two sets of bones were found near the tombs of two 19th-century German princesses, raising hopes that they could be the remains of 15-year-old Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican employee, a Vatican official said.

Gisotti added that the bones were found in two holes carved out of a large stone that was covered by an old pavement stone a few meters (yards) behind the princesses' tombs.

The noblewomen's ossuaries, which should have been encased in the tombs, subsequently turned up under a hatch in the floor of Teutonic College, which is adjacent to the cemetery.

Both the college and its cemetery are on Vatican property.

Gisotti said the Office of the Promoter of Justice of the Court of Vatican City State has therefore ordered that these operations take place in the presence of experts of the Office and of people appointed by the Orlandi family, as well as specialized personnel of the Vatican Police Corps and the same workers who have been involved in the investigations until now.

Her case has been one of the enduring mysteries of the Vatican, kept alive by the Italian media and a quest by her brother to find answers and closure. Over the years her disappearance has been linked to everything from the plot to kill Pope John Paul II to the financial scandal of the Vatican bank and Rome's criminal underworld. The search turned up no link.

Pietro Orlandi, the missing girl's brother, has long demanded the Vatican give the family full access to all information it has about his sister's disappearance.

The family's lawyer, Laura Sgro, said Saturday she had been informed of the discovery of the bones and that the family was pleased that the investigation was continuing. "If we understand together, it's better". The Vatican immediately branded the document a fake, though it never explained what it was doing in the Vatican cabinet.

FILE - This Wednesday, July 10, 2019 file photo shows the view of the Teutonic Cemetery inside the Vatican.

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