VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican press
office confirmed news reports that human bones had been found during
reconstruction work in a building connected to the Vatican Embassy to
Italian media immediately surmised that the bones could be those of
Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican employee who presumably was
kidnapped in 1983 at the age of 15. The case has never been solved but
has been the subject of speculation for more than 35 years.
In a statement late Oct. 30, the Vatican press office said Rome's
chief prosecutor has asked police to carry out a forensic study of the
bones to determine "the age, sex and date of death."
"During some reconstruction work in a building connected to the
apostolic nunciature to Italy," the statement said, "some human bone
fragments were found."
Vatican police were called, and they called "superiors of the Holy
See, who immediately informed Italian authorities for the appropriate
investigations." The nunciature is sovereign Vatican property, so the
Italian police enter only when requested to do so.
The Vatican statement did not provide details about the building
where the bones were found. The nunciature itself is housed in Villa
Giorgina, a structure built in 1920 and given to the Vatican in 1949.
The nunciature, or embassy to Italy, moved into the premises 10 years
Investigations into the disappearance of Emanuela have been recurring
over the past 35 years. Her father was a papal usher and the family
lived in the Vatican.
Because she lived inside the Vatican and no trace of her was ever
found, her case has been an obsession for Italian conspiracy theorists,
some of whom have tried to link the case to the Freemasons, the Soviets,
organized crime or to victims of the 1982 collapse of Italy's Banco
Ambrosiano, which had close ties to the Vatican Bank.
But the most common conjecture is that she was kidnapped by a group
connected to Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turk captured in St. Peter's Square
moments after shooting Pope John Paul II in 1981 and later convicted of
attempted murder. The suspicion was strengthened by several letters
signed by the "Turkish Anti-Christian Turkesh Liberation Front," which
said Emanuela would be freed if Agca were released from prison.