The Vatican has reopened an investigation into the disappearance of Emmanuelle Orlando, a case that has gripped Italy for nearly 40 years and implicated the powerful Holy See.
Emanuela was 15 years old when she disappeared on June 22, 1983, while returning home from a flute lesson in Rome. The Orlandi family lived in the Vatican, where her father was a lay official in the papal household.
The case has given rise to several theories, including that Emanuele was kidnapped by a gang to blackmail the Vatican into releasing Mehmet Ali Agca, who was jailed in 1981 after attempting to assassinate Pope John Paul II, but has never given concrete answers.
Vatican Justice Promoter Alessandro Didi reopened the case after several requests from Emanuele’s older brother Pietro, who campaigned tirelessly to uncover the truth behind her disappearance, according to the LaPresse news agency.
“We only learned about the investigation through the media,” said Laura Sgro, the Orlandi family’s attorney. “We wrote to the Pope a year ago with the intention of talking to the promoter of justice. Of course, we are happy that they are conducting an investigation, but we really hope that this will actually provide concrete answers.
Diddy confirmed the reopening of the investigation to LaPresse after it was first reported by Adnkronos news agency, saying that “all files, documents, reports, information and testimony” related to the case will be re-examined to clarify a number of issues and ” leave no stone unturned”.
Furthermore, the investigation will focus on the case of Mirella Gregory, who was also 15 when she disappeared in Rome weeks before Orlandi after telling her mother she was going on a date. It has long been believed that there could be a connection between the two disappearances.
The investigation comes months after the release of the Netflix documentary The Vatican Girl, which explores theories surrounding the Orlando case. In the most incredible claim, a childhood friend of Emanuele’s interviewed in the documentary said the teenager was molested by “someone close to the Pope”, who at the time was John Paul II.
Another theory revealed in the documentary is that Emmanuela was taken to London, where she lived for years in a youth hostel owned by the Catholic congregation, with her expenses financed by the Vatican. According to this theory, Emmanuella died in London before her body was flown back to Rome and buried in the Vatican.
In 2019, two tombs in the Vatican were exhumed and reopened after reports that Emanuele may have been buried there. But no human remains were found.
Other theories link Emanuele’s disappearance to Vatican financial scandals, an alleged sex ring run by Vatican police and Rome’s criminal underworld.
The reopening of the case also comes after Georg Ganswein, the late former Pope Benedict’s longtime personal secretary and close confidant, said he would address the Orlandi mystery in his tell-all book, due out on January 12.