Published: Sat, July 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Emanuela Orlandi Search: Empty Tombs Fail To Solve Vatican Mystery

Emanuela Orlandi Search: Empty Tombs Fail To Solve Vatican Mystery

Not only did the tombs not contain Emanuela, they also did not contain two princesses thought to be buried there.

In 2018 human remains found underneath the Vatican nunciature to Italy, located in Rome's Parioli district, sparked speculation that Orlandi might have finally been found.

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".

Her brother, Pietro Orlandi - a young man at the time of her disappearance - has led the family's constant push to find the truth about his sister's disappearance, pursuing multiple false leads, anonymous letters, conspiracy theories and supposed sightings in far off countries. "The letter said: "If you want to find Emanuela, search where the angel is looking.'" The photo was of a marble statue of an angel that looks down on the German princesses" tombs in the Teutonic Cemetery.

The tombs of two princesses in the Vatican's Teutonic Cemetery have been opened and found to be empty.

Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican employer, disappeared 36 years ago after attending a music lesson in the center of Rome and since then her family has determinedly continued to search for her. Her family later received communications from someone who said they were holding the 15-year-old hostage in exchange for the release of Mehmet Ali Agca, who was serving a life sentence in prison for shooting Pope John Paul II in 1981.

He said he might be able to roughly estimate how old the bones inside the graves are, and whether they could belong to someone other than the people officially buried in them.


Gisotti highlighted how the Holy See has always shown sensitivity and closeness to the suffering of the Orlandi Family, in particular to Emanuela's mother.

There was no trace of either Princess Sophie von Hohenlohe, who died in 1836, or Princess Carlotta Federica of Mecklenburg, who died in 1840. Vatican officials said they would go back to records to try and figure out what became of the princesses' remains.

"The tomb had obviously been recently opened, there was new cement on it, but we didn't know why or when, we were given no information", Sgro told CBS News.

Workers open one of two tombs within the Vatican's grounds in the Teutonic Cemetery is opened on July 11, 2019, as part of a probe into the mysterious 1983 disappearance of teenager Emanuela Orlandi.

A second, similar grave alongside the first was also opened to rule out any misunderstandings over which grave was meant.

Relatives of the two princesses have been informed of the result of the search, Gisotti said.

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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