Probe finally launched into mystery of missing Vatican girl after 40 years (video)

An inquiry into the mysterious disappearance of a teenage girl 40 years ago has been launched by the Vatican after a request by the girl’s family.

The 15 year old girl’s vanishing in 1983 sparked a number of theories and has been the subject of a popular Netflix series called Vatican Girl in 2022.

Emanuela Orlandi, the teenage daughter of a Vatican employee, went missing in Rome on June 22, 1983. She was last seen leaving her music class after a flute lesson.

Orlandi has been spotted in several places over the years, including inside Vatican City, but all have been unreliable. The girl’s disappearance sparked an intense media frenzy in Italy. It has been called “Italy’s most famous unsolved mystery.”

The case of Orlandi’s disappearance sparked many theories over the years, including the possibility that she was abducted by a criminal group with the intention of blackmailing the Vatican to release Mehmet Ali Ağca, a man who was imprisoned in 1981 for attempting to assassinate Pope John Paul II. However, despite extensive investigation and speculation no concrete answers have been found.

Probe finally launched into mystery of missing Vatican girl after 40 years (video) | News by Thaiger
Pictures courtesy of AP

Another theory that has been widely reported in Italian media is that the girl was taken by an organized crime syndicate to put pressure on the Vatican to repay a loan.

Enrico De Pedis, the leader of the Magliana gang, was suspected to be involved in the kidnapping of Orlandi. There have also been speculations that the girl’s remains might be buried in a tomb with him, but DNA tests on the bones found in the tomb did not match.

Conspiracy theorists became excited over a leaked document in 2017 that was reportedly written by a cardinal and suggested a cover-up by the Vatican. However, it was later revealed that the document was fake.

In 2019, the Vatican ordered the exhumation of two tombs in an attempt to find Orlandi’s remains, but no new bones were found.

The case has been largely ignored by the Vatican, until now, some four decades later.

The Vatican’s chief prosecutor, Alessandro Diddi, has opened an official investigation based on requests made by the girl’s family, according to a statement from a Vatican spokesman. However, the exact reason for the inquiry has not been clearly disclosed and the Orlandi family has reportedly said they are still waiting for more information.

The Orlandi family lawyer, Laura Sgro, reported she is unclear about the Vatican’s motives.

“We don’t know what the Vatican will do … which papers they want to review, the papers of the investigation by the Rome prosecutors or if they have a file to share.

“The Vatican has never done anything up until now. I have been asking to be heard by top figures in the Vatican for years … but unfortunately, some people are already dead.”


Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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