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Human remains found on Vatican property could unlock missing persons cases

Thursday, 1 November, 2018 - 20:50

Fragments of human bones were found in Rome during restoration work in an annex of the apostolic nunciature – the Vatican Embassy in Italy, the Holy See announced on Tuesday.

The Italian police have been informed and an investigation is underway to establish the age and sex of the body and the date of death. The investigators will now try to determine if the DNA of these remains corresponds to that of Emanuela Orlandi or Mirella Gregori, two minors who disappeared separately in Rome thirty-five years ago.

Emanuela Orlandi, daughter of a member of the Vatican police, was last seen on 22 June 1983 while leaving a music class. Some people came forward when the 15-year-old girl was abducted by an organised crime gang to pressure officials of the Holy See to collect a loan. Others say she was kidnapped with the intention of exchanging her for the release of Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish man who attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981.

Her brother Pietro, who has been campaigning for decades to try to solve the mystery of her disappearance, has denounced the Vatican’s silence and even its complicity in this affair. The Holy See, however, has repeatedly claimed to have cooperated with the Italian police on this case.

Mirella Gregori disappeared exactly forty days before Emanuela Orlandi. According to her mother, Mirella told her parents that she was going out with a a school friend and that she would be back home soon, but she never reappeared.

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