Empty tombs add twist to Vatican missing girl mystery

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 12, 2019

The site turned out to be Vatican's Teutonic Cemetery, a small graveyard beyond St. Peter's Basilica which serves as a resting place for German and Flemish-speaking Vatican residents.

"They found nothing, not even the remains of those who were meant to officially be buried there, " said the missing girl's brother, Pietro Orlandi.

The Vatican issued a statement after this morning's work at the cemetery had concluded saying that the "research had given negative results: no human findings or funerary urns were found....the family members of the two Princesses were informed of the results of the research".

The Vatican had reopened the investigation into Orlandi's case in April.

Bones found near the Vatican's embassy to Italy late previous year revived interest in Orlandi's disappearance, but analysis of the remains showed they did not belong to Orlandi.

A February 13, 2013 file photo shows the Teutonic Cemetery in the courtyard of the Collegio Teutonico, as seen from atop St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.

The so-called "Tomb of the Angel" is that of Princess Sophie von Hohenlohe, who died in the mid 1700's.

The Vatican confirmed that "the outcome of the search has been negative", according to ANSA.

"The tombs are empty".

The family sent a request to the Vatican secretary of state to have the tombs opened, which was granted last week.

Orlandi's mother still lives in Vatican City, close to the Teutonic Cemetery.

Searchers not only didn't find Emanuela's bones - unexpectedly, they found no remains at all.

Giovanni Arcudi is a leading expert in forensic anthropology and professor of forensic medicine at Rome's Tor Vergata University.

Orlandi's family has been chasing clues on her disappearance for decades, and conspiracy theories abound. Some have said she was kidnapped by the Mafia to put pressure on the Vatican to cough up a loan.

Surprisingly, the Vatican agreed to open two tombs at the Teutonic Cemetery, which dates to the 1800s. They found nothing that didn't belong there.

"I received a letter with a picture in it", Sgro told CBS News.

"Much depends on the environmental conditions, on the microclimate in which they are found, on the humidity, on the presence of infiltrations, on possible actions of microfauna", he said.

"There was new cement on it, but we didn't know why or when, we were given no information", Sgro said.

Pietro Orlandi, brother of Emanuela Orlandi, leaves the Vatican with his lawyer Laura Sgro, after two tombs were opened in a cemetery on its grounds to test the DNA of bones to help solve one of Italy's most enduring mysteries in the Vatican, July 11, 2019. There was speculation that the youngster may be buried alongside him - but DNA tests failed to find a match.

"Documentary checks are underway on the structural interventions that took place in the area.in a first phase at the end of the 19th century, and in a second more recent phase between the 60s and 70s of the last century", the Vatican said.

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