Vatican to open tombs in bid to solve missing girl case

VATICAN-RELIGION-ITALY-MISSING

In a statement released after just a couple hours of work, Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said the operation had "produced negative results: no human findings or funerary urns were found" in either of the tombs - neither any remains appearing to belong to a teenager from the 1980s, nor any belonging to the 19th century princesses.

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

Vatican opened graves of two princesses in search for missing girl.

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The Vatican authorized the opening of the graves after a request by Orlandi's family, which had past year received an anonymous letter suggesting a clue could be found near a large statue of an angel in the Teutonic College cemetery. Because the family lived inside the Vatican walls, numerous rumors involve the Vatican itself: that she was murdered in connection to the Vatican bank scandals of the 1980s; that she was kidnapped to barter for the freedom of a man who attempted to kill Pope John Paul II; that she was kidnapped as part of a sex slavery ring inside the Vatican.

There was no trace of either Princess Sophie von Hohenlohe, who died in 1836, or Princess Carlotta Federica of Mecklenburg, who died in 1840.

Searchers not only didn't find Emanuela's bones - unexpectedly, they found no remains at all.

"Last summer, I received an envelope", family lawyer Laura Sgro told NBC News. No human remains were found inside.


"We want to reemphasize that the Holy See always has shown attention and closeness to the suffering of the Orlandi family, particularly her mother", Gisotti said. Scientific testing ruled out that the remains were Orlandi's. Vatican officials said they would go back to records to try and figure out what became of the princesses' remains.

The Vatican had reopened the investigation into Orlandi's case in April.

The Vatican City State tribunal made the order to open the graves last week.

The remains will also be DNA tested to establish "definitively and categorically" if there is any connection with Emanuela.

The family braced for a possible breakthrough a year ago, when human remains were found at a Vatican property in Rome, but the bones discovered dated back to an earlier period.

A second, similar grave alongside the first was also opened to rule out any misunderstandings over which grave was meant. Enrico De Pedis, head of the Magliana gang, was suspected of involvement in her kidnapping and some speculated the youngster may be buried alongside him - but DNA tests failed to find a match.

The Vatican's next step following the discovery, Gisotti explained, will be to look into documentation about structural renovations that took place in the cemetery at the end of the 1800s and in the 1960s and '70s.

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