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Recent Investigation into 1983 Disappearance in Vatican City

Vaishnavi Peyyety, Red & Black Current Events Staff Writer

A missing person flier of Emanuela Orlandi pictured in the Netflix Documentary "Vatican Girl."(Photo Courtesy Mondadori Portfolio from Getty Images)
JAN.15-In 1983, Emanuela Orlandi, a 15-year-old girl, disappeared. The daughter of a well-known Vatican employee, Orlandi lived in the holy city and disappeared during the summer of 1983. Orlandi was on her way home from a music lesson at a music school in Rome. She was last seen in a green BMW. Emanuela was the daughter of Ercole Orlandi who worked for the Institute for the Works of Religion in the Holy See. Her case was reopened following public outcry from an investigative docuseries on Netflix named “Vatican Girl.”

Specifically, the Vatican promoter of justice, Alessandro Diddi, opened up the investigation into her disappearance. In the four-part Netflix series directed by Mark Lewis, many conspiracy theories of Orlandi’s disappearance were addressed. Some believe her kidnapping was related to Mehmet Ali Agca, an individual who was serving time in prison for an assassination attempt. Others believe there may be a link to the Band of Magliana, a criminal gang. Some say the Italian mafia may be involved, as they could have used Orlandi’s kidnapping to blackmail the Vatican for money.

“Her case [Emanuela Orlandi’s disappearance case] was reopened following public outcry from an investigative docuseries on Netflix named ‘Vatican Girl.’”

In 2012, Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican’s chief exorcist, stated that she believed Orlandi was kidnapped and sold into sex trafficking by Vatican police. Following Orlandi’s disappearance, the family received numerous mysterious phone calls claiming she had been kidnapped for ransom. Orlandi’s brother, Pietro Orlando, believes the Vatican is hiding information on his sister’s case. Pietro stated that he plans to organize a sit-in on Jan. 14 in St. Peter’s Square to mark Emanuela’s birthday. In the documentary, Lewis interviewed Orlandi’s mother, sisters and the chief investigator of the Italian police at the time. In the series, the Vatican declined to be interviewed despite numerous requests. Interestingly, the documentary highlights a 1998 document released during the VatiLeaks scandal in 2016. The financial records indicate that Orlandi’s body was transferred to Vatican City in 1997 without the knowledge of her family, even though her remains have not been declared as found. This means the Vatican’s treasury office, formally known as the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, were aware of the location of Orlandi’s body until the summer of 1997, but the Vatican has kept this information private from her family and the public.
“Orlandi’s friend believed someone had made sexual advances towards Orlandi, but she did not further elaborate.”
A close friend of Orlandi revealed that Orlandi had confided in her a week before her disappearance. Orlandi detailed that when she was walking in the Vatican Gardens someone close to the pope was “bothering” her. Orlandi’s friend believed someone had made sexual advances towards Orlandi, but she did not further elaborate. The documentary contrasts these suppositions with photos of Orlandi and news about priests sexually abusing children, suggesting that the young girl may have been sexually abused. This may explain why the Vatican has omitted many details in this case and refused to comment on the situation. In summary, this case and docuseries have made many become interested in the “secret” side to the Vatican.
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