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Post Exhumation: No Emanuela Orlandi in Tombs Opened in Vatican’s Campo Santo Teutonico

‘The researches gave a negative result: no human finds or funerary urns were found’

Post exhumation: Emanuela Orlandi is not buried in the tombs where there was speculation that she had been buried.

The Vatican’s judicial authorities had approved the family’s request to open two tombs in the Vatican’s Teutonic Cemetery, normally reserved for German-speaking priests or Church figures, and this took place this morning, July 11, 2019.

Emanuela would have been 51. The daughter of a Vatican employee at the Prefecture of the Papal Household, at age 15, she disappeared in the center of Rome following her flute lessons a short distance from Piazza Navona.

Over the years, Italian press especially have followed this mystery case which presented various hypotheses, including ones tied to terrorist groups, the mafia, and so on, all leading to dead ends.

The police at the time of her disappearance did not exclude that her disappearance had nothing to do with the Vatican. Her family has sought over these 36 years to have justice and understand the truth. They were grateful to the Vatican for agreeing to open the tombs this morning.

The procedure this morning was surprising as originally it was expected that human remains from the two princesses, whose two tombs were being opened, would be present. From there, the forensic anthropologist stated in an interview yesterday with Vatican News, they would have tested for DNA, after doing morphological exams initially, to see roughly how old the remains were, and if there were more than the two individuals who were expected to be there.

However, the tombs—upon opening them–confirmed the Vatican statement, which we have translated below, from the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, were found “completely empty.”

Here is a Zenit working translation of Alessandro Gisotti’s statement:

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Communication to Journalists of the Director “Ad Interim” of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, 11-07-2019

At 11:15 am the operations concluded at the Campo Santo Teutonico, in the ambit of the commissioned investigations of the Orlandi case. The researches gave a negative result: no human finds or funerary urns were found. The thorough inspection of the tomb of Princess Sophie von Hohenlohe brought to light a large underground compartment of around 4 by 3,70 metres completely empty.

Carried out subsequently were the opening operations of the second tomb-sarcophagus, that of Princess Charlotte Federica of Mecklemburg. Human remains were not found inside it.  The relatives of the two Princesses were informed of the result of the researches.

The personnel of the Fabric of Saint Peter, Professor Giovanni Arcudi, helped by his staff, in the presence of a trusted expert appointed by the lawyer of Emanuela Orlandi’s Family, collaborated in the investigations. Present were the Orlandi Family’s lawyer, Laura Sgro, and Emanuela’s brother, Pietro Orlandi. The Promoter of Justice of the Tribunal of Vatican City State, Gian Piero Milano, and his Assistant, Alessandro Diddi, together with the Commandant of the Vatican Gendarmerie Corps, Domenico Giani, followed all the phases of the operation.

Underway for further study are documentary verifications regarding the structural intervention that happened in the area of the Campo Santo Teutonico, 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.

At the end of the operations, we confirm that the Holy See has always shown care and closeness to the suffering of the Orlandi Family and, in particular, to Emanuela’s mother. Care demonstrated also on this occasion in accepting the Family’s specific request to undertake verifications in the Campo Santo Teutonico.

 

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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