The Vatican is reopening its investigation into the mysterious disappearance of a teenager 40 years ago

The Vatican said Monday it had reopened its investigation into the 1983 disappearance of the 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican employee, months after a new Netflix documentary allegedly shed new light on the case, and weeks after it Family asked the Italian Parliament get to the bottom of the matter.

Vatican prosecutor Alessandro Diddi opened a file into Emanuela Orlandi’s disappearance, based in part on “inquiries from family in various locations,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.

A lawyer for the Orlandi family, Laura Sgro, said she had no independent confirmation of the development, which was first reported by Italian agencies Adnkronos, LaPresse and ANSA. She noted that her last Vatican file on the case came in 2019 when the Vatican opened two graves in their cemetery after Sgro received a mysterious tip. The excavation did not yield any new information.

Orlandi disappeared on June 22, 1983 after leaving her family’s home in Vatican City to attend a music class in Rome. Her father was a lay employee of the Holy See.

Her disappearance has been one of the Vatican’s enduring mysteries, and over the years has been linked to everything from the conspiracy to assassinate John Paul II and a financial scandal involving the Vatican Bank to Rome’s criminal underworld.

The recently released four-part Netflix documentary Vatican Girl explored these scenarios and also provided new testimony from a friend who said Emanuela told her a week before her disappearance that a senior Vatican cleric had made sexual advances towards her.

In addition, last month Sgro and Orlandi’s brother Pietro announced a new initiative to convene a parliamentary commission of inquiry into the case. For 40 years he has been trying to find answers about his sister’s disappearance and says he believes the Holy See is hiding information in the case could imply senior members of the clergy.

Italy Vatican disappearance
Lawyer Laura Sgro, left, listens to her client Pietro Orlandi, brother of Manuela, a 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican employee who disappeared in 1983, during a news conference to set up a parliamentary commission of inquiry into Manuela Orlandi and other cases in Rome, December 20, 2022.

Alessandra Tarantino/AP

Three previous initiatives in Italy’s parliament failed to get off the ground, but Sgro and opposition lawmaker Carlo Calenda argued that the Vatican could not consider the case closed when so many questions remained unanswered.

“We are a large secular nation that treats the Vatican with respect, but this case certainly cannot be considered closed in that way,” Calenda said said last month.

Speaking to RaiNews24 on Monday, Pietro Orlandi called Diddi’s decision a “positive step” that the Vatican appears to have changed its mind, overcome its opposition and will now consider the case from the beginning. The Vatican is reopening its investigation into the mysterious disappearance of a teenager 40 years ago

Rick Schindler

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