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Vatican Missing-Girl Mystery Deepens as Bones Are Found

Emanuela Orlandi disappeared in 1983
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 13, 2019 2:13 PM CDT
This Wednesday, July 10, 2019 file photo shows the view of the Teutonic Cemetery inside the Vatican.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
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(Newser) – The mystery of the 1983 disappearance of the 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican employee took yet another twist Saturday following excavations this week at a Vatican City cemetery, the AP reports. The Vatican said it had discovered two sets of bones under a stone slab that will be formally opened next week. The new discovery came after Vatican on Thursday pried open the tombs of two 19th-century German princesses in the cemetery of the Pontifical Teutonic College in hopes of finding the remains of Emanuela Orlandi. Orlandi's family had received a tip that she might be buried there. But the tombs turned out to be empty, creating yet another mystery about where the dead princesses were. The Vatican vowed to keep investigating and noted that any bones in the tombs might have been displaced during structural work in years past.

On Saturday, a Vatican said further searches had centered on the areas adjoining the princesses' tombs. He said investigators had located two ossuaries, or sets of bones, under a stone slab manhole covering inside the Teutonic college itself. He said the area was immediately sealed off and would be opened in the presence of forensic experts on July 20. Orlandi disappeared in 1983 after leaving her family's Vatican City apartment to go to a music lesson in Rome. Her father was a lay employee of the Holy See. Her case has been one of the enduring mysteries of the Vatican, kept alive by the Italian media and a quest by her brother to find answers. Over the years, her disappearance has been linked to everything from the plot to kill St. John Paul II to the financial scandal of the Vatican bank and Rome's criminal underworld.

(Read more Vatican stories.)

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