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Mysterious disappearance 1983: Rome reopens an investigation into one of Italy’s most famous legal mysteries

The public prosecutor’s office in Rome has opened a new investigation into the mysterious disappearance in 1983 of a teenager who lived in the Vatican, one of Italy’s most notorious legal mysteries, Via Alpine media reported on Monday.

Fifteen-year-old Emanuela Orlandi, whose parents both worked in the Vatican, was last seen in central Rome after a music lesson on June 22, 1983.

For forty years, this case has generated endless speculation and never ceases to fascinate Italians against the background of conspiracy theories implicated by the secret services, the Mafia, the Vatican’s higher authorities, or Freemasonry.

The case also inspired a successful documentary series, “Vatican Girl,” which aired on Netflix.

The family’s lawyer, Laura Sgro, told AFP on Monday that she learned of the investigation’s opening from the media and said it “would undoubtedly be good news”.

Laura Sgro

Photo by Andreas Solaro/AFP

Laura Sgro

It was the family’s relentless demands that for the first time in January prompted the Vatican to reopen its own investigation into its most unsolved case.

After the move, the daily Corriere della Sera confirmed that “the Rome Prosecutor’s Office has officially reopened the investigations in the Orlandi case”.

Over the years, the Vatican has been accused of obstructing investigations, but according to La Repubblica newspaper, the Vatican’s chief prosecutor, Alessandro Dede, and his Romanian counterpart are cooperating on the case.

Sgro commented that it would be “the first time that Italian prosecutors and the Vatican have worked together to search for the truth”.

According to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, the new investigation will be based in particular on the statements of the former public prosecutor who was promised by two representatives of the Vatican to reveal the location of the victim’s body.

One of the most popular theories is that the girl was kidnapped by gangsters to put pressure on the Vatican for a loan.

Others say that she was kidnapped to force the authorities to release the Turkish citizen, Mehmet Ali Agca, who tried to assassinate John Paul II in 1981, from prison.

In the Netflix series, one of her friends said that, a week before her disappearance, Emanuela told her that she had been harassed in the Vatican Gardens by someone close to Pope John Paul II.