The discovery of human bones at a property next to the Vatican's embassy to Italy has renewed hope of solving a 35-year-old disappearance, which some claim involves the Vatican itself. Rome's chief prosecutor is working to identify the bones found during renovation work at the Vatican property in Rome's Parioli neighborhood, the Vatican said Tuesday. Italian media quickly inserted Emanuela Orlandi into the conversation, notes CNN: The 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican official vanished on June 22, 1983, after leaving a music lesson in Rome, reports the Guardian. In the years since, some have claimed she was kidnapped by the mafia to pressure the Vatican to recover a loan, or taken in an effort to free from prison the man who tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981, per the BBC.
Orlandi's brother has even suggested some Holy See complicity in the case. Just last year, an Italian journalist claimed a stolen Vatican document listed expenses for Orlandi's care after she disappeared, reports the AP, though the Vatican called the document a fake. Some also believe Orlandi's disappearance is linked to that of 15-year-old Mirella Gregori. Gregori vanished 40 days before Orlandi when she left her family's apartment to speak to a person who'd dialed the intercom, described as a school friend. "Above all we need to (establish) the period [of death] before we jump to conclusions," a Vatican rep tells the Guardian. Even so, a lawyer representing the family of Orlandi says they hope to finally "bring her home." Investigators last searched for the missing girl in a mob boss' jewel-encrusted tomb. (Read more Vatican stories.)