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Orlandi case: proceedings regarding bones in the Teutonic cemetery is closed

A Single Judge accepts the Promoter of Justice's request after forensic tests show the remains found in a common grave in the Vatican cemetery are all dated much further back than the disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi.

By Vatican News

“The proceeding relative to the alleged entombment of Emanuela Orlandi’s remains in the Vatican in the Teutonic Cemetery has been closed by the Single Judge of Vatican City State who had received the request from the Office of the Promoter of Justice”. This is according the Judge’s statement that was released by the Holy See Press Office on Thursday. The statement also includes information regarding the human remains found in the ossuaries adjacent to the two tombs that were opened in July 2019 revealing they date further back in time before Emanuela Orlandi's disappearance.

Case Summary

The case had been opened in the summer of last year following a complaint filed by the Orlandi family. Emanuela was the daughter of a Holy See employee who resided with his family within Vatican City State. She disappeared on 22 June 1983 in the centre of Rome.

Substantiating the complaint were indications (provided by an anonymous source) that a tomb in the Teutonic Cemetery may have contained her remains which have never been found. Responding to the complaint, the Promoter of Justice, Gian Piero Milano, and his Assistant, Alessandro Diddi, had granted access to the burial ground and the opening of two tombs located next to each other inside the Teutonic Cemetery. Both tombs were found to be empty.

Investigations last summer brought to light that work had been undertaken to expand the Teutonic College in the 1960s and 70s. The graves of Princesses Sophie von Hohenlohe and Carlotta Federica di Mecklemburgo, both of whom had died in the 19th century, were empty. Further investigations undertaken that same day ended with the discover of two ossuaries that had been placed under the flooring in an area closed with a trap door inside the Pontifical Teutonic College. The Promoter of Justice decided to immediately seal the two ossuaries in view of further analysis.

Conclusion of the case

Today’s statement reads that “the conclusions on these findings”, carried out by Prof. Giovanni Arcudi, an expert present as a consultant on behalf of the Orlandi family, “have resolved that the fragments that were found can be dated back to before the disappearance of poor Emanuela. The most recent of them dates to at least 100 years ago. Thus the request to archive the case closes this sad chapter regarding the disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi, in which Vatican Authorities offered, from the beginning, the widest possible collaboration."

In this same spirit of collaboration and attention to the requests made by Emanuela Orlandi's family, the statement notes that “the order filed allows the Orlandi family to proceed privately with any further investigations on the same fragments already found, which are kept sealed in containers in the offices of the Vatican Gendarmeria”.  

30 April 2020, 12:52