Vatican City, Jun 22, 2023 / 04:10 am (CNA).
Vatican City’s chief prosecutor, who is investigating the 40-year-old case of a missing teenage girl, has shared information deemed “worthy of further investigation” with Rome prosecutors.
Vatican prosecutor Alessandro Diddi said June 22, the anniversary of 15-year-old Emanuela Orlandi’s disappearance, that his office “has collected all the evidence available” in the case of the so-called “Vatican girl.”
Diddi reopened investigations in January after Pope Francis gave him “maximum freedom of action to investigate [Orlandi’s case] on a broad scale without conditions of any kind.”
Emanuela Orlandi was the teenage daughter of Ercole Orlandi, an envoy of the Prefecture of the Pontifical House and a citizen of Vatican City State. Her disappearance on June 22, 1983, after leaving for a music lesson in Rome, has dominated headlines and been the subject of speculation for decades.
Diddi said Thursday he has interviewed people in charge of certain offices at the time of Orlandi’s disappearance 40 years ago, and the office of the Promoter of Justice has examined the material, “confirming some investigative leads worthy of further investigation.”
Relevant documentation was sent this month to the prosecutor’s office in Rome, he noted, “so that the latter can take a look at it and proceed in the direction it deems most appropriate.”
The chief prosecutor said his office will continue its investigation over the next few months, adding that they are “close to the grief of Emanuela’s family and aware of the suffering one feels at the disappearance of a relative.”
Diddi met with Orlandi’s brother, Piero, and the family’s lawyer, in April. According to Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni, the meeting, requested by Orlandi, served as an occasion for Orlandi to “make his own statements and to offer any information in his possession to the file opened by the Vatican promoter of justice in January.”
Diddi clarified in an interview in April that his investigation is limited to the confines of Vatican City State. He said: “I enjoy broad autonomy, but for investigations on Italian soil I necessarily have to interface with the public prosecutor’s office of Rome and with the new prosecutor Francesco Lo Voi.”
The Vatican said in January the Emanuela Orlandi case was being reopened at the request of the family.
Public interest in the case was also rekindled last fall after the release of “Vatican Girl: The Disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi” on Netflix.
The true-crime docuseries, which premiered on the streaming service in October 2022, featured interviews with subjects who proffer numerous theories about Orlandi’s disappearance, none of which have been substantiated.
In the final episode, the docuseries presents a theory that the Vatican was involved in some way in Orlandi’s disappearance, based on a new interview with a childhood friend of the missing girl. The Vatican denies having any role in her disappearance.
In 2019, the Vatican agreed to open two tombs in the cemetery of the Teutonic College, which sits on Vatican-owned property adjacent to the city-state, on the strength of a tip received by the Orlandi family that the missing girl’s remains would be found there.
The graves were found to be completely empty, and in an unexpected twist, Vatican officials discovered “thousands” of human bones — not Orlandi’s — in a previously unknown ossuary nearby.