Vatican pursues new leads in Emanuela Orlandi cold case

Vatican reopens case employee’s daughter that disappeared 40 years ago after denying any involvement.

FILE - Undated picture of Italian teenager Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican employee, believed to have been kidnapped after a music lesson in Rome on June 22, 1983 when she was 15-years-old. The Vatican has for the first time opened its own investigation into the case of Emanuela Orlandi. The Orlandi family's lawyer, Laura Sgrò, confirmed the probe on Wednesday. (AP Photo)
An undated picture of Italian teenager Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican employee, believed to have been kidnapped in Rome 40 years ago [File: AP Photo]

Forty years after the teenage daughter of a Vatican employee disappeared, the Vatican said on Thursday that new leads “worthy of further investigation” had surfaced, raising hopes one of the Holy See’s enduring mysteries could be solved.

Emanuela Orlandi vanished when she was 15 on June 22, 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.

The Vatican’s criminal prosecutor, Alessandro Diddi, said Thursday he had recently forwarded to prosecutors in Rome all the “evidence available in the structures of the Vatican and the Holy See” he had gathered in the six months since he reopened the investigation into Orlandi’s disappearance.

Over the years, her disappearance has been linked to everything from the plot to kill St John Paul II, a financial scandal involving the Vatican bank and Roman gang Banda della Magliana and a possible Vatican sex scandal.

Popular interest in the case was renewed last year with the four-part Netflix documentary, Vatican Girl, which explored the various scenarios suspected in her disappearance and also provided new testimony from a friend who said Orlandi had told her a week before she disappeared that a high-ranking Vatican cleric had made sexual advances towards her.

After the documentary aired and with the 40th anniversary of her disappearance nearing, Orlandi’s family, supported by a number of lawmakers, pressed for an Italian parliamentary commission of inquiry.

Separately, the Vatican and Rome prosecutor’s offices reopened the investigation.

Rome’s previous chief prosecutor who archived the case within the Italian legal system, Giuseppe Pignatone, is now the chief judge of the Vatican’s criminal tribunal, where Diddi is the chief prosecutor.

Diddi added that his office had also interrogated people who held Vatican positions 40 years ago.

“It has proceeded to examine the material, confirming some investigative leads worthy of further investigation and transmitting all the relevant documentation, in recent weeks, to the Prosecutor’s Office in Rome, so that the latter may take a look at it and proceed in the direction it deems most appropriate,” read the statement.

He expressed solidarity with the Orlandi family and pledged to keep pursuing the case.

Pietro Orlandi, who has fought for 40 years to find the truth about his sister, is planning a sit-in protest Sunday near the Vatican.

He has long raised the suspicions that the Vatican has never come clean with what it knows about the case.

Source: News Agencies