June 22, 2024

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It’s been more than 40 years since Emanuela Orlandi disappeared

It’s been more than 40 years since Emanuela Orlandi disappeared

Disappeared in 1983

Mysterious Vatican case – Emanuela Orlandi has been missing for over 40 years

40 years ago, a family found itself at the center of an international conspiracy. Then 15-year-old Emanuela Orlandi disappeared. Will the case ever be solved?


Rumors still swirl about the mysterious disappearance of then 15-year-old Emanuela Orlandi.


  • The case is considered one of the greatest mysteries in recent Italian criminal history.

  • There were always fresh speculations about her disappearance.

  • Emanuela Orlandi was also wanted abroad.

Abuse, extortion, foreign secret services or a Connection with the Mafia And the Vatican? Rumors still surround the mysterious disappearance of then 15-year-old Emanuela Orlandi. 40 years ago (June 22, 1983) the “Vatican Girl” disappeared.

Emanuela’s father worked for the Vatican – the family has lived in the world’s smallest country for 100 years, and according to their own reports, served seven popes – for that reason alone the case erupted. But above all the circumstances of her disappearance make waves to this day.

It happened on June 22, 1983

On a hot and humid June evening in 1983, a 15-year-old boy disappeared without a trace. After attending a music school in the old city of Rome, she never returned home. From one moment to the next, an entire family finds itself in the middle of an amazing case. In the early years, it was even thought to be an international conspiracy with a teenager at its center.

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These principles exist

The case created a sensation not only in Italy. There is also a four-part Netflix series (“Vatican Girl”) starting in 2022. Because it is still unclear what happened to her. A body was never found. Since then, many theories, some of them anecdotal, have been circulated about their disappearance. For example, Orlandi was kidnapped to free the Pope’s assassin, Mehmet Ali Akka, or it was said that secret services such as the KGB or the CIA were involved. There was also talk of covering up abuse by a curia official or being kidnapped by the mafia.

Also seen abroad

New clues about her disappearance surfaced again and again. Cemeteries have been opened, including the German Cemetery (Campo Santo Teutonico) in Rome. They were looking for him abroad. Nothing and no one was found. In May of this year, former carabinieri spoke out and said Emanuela was buried under the Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome.

Official Vatican Inquisition

Recently there has been a surprising move in this case. In January, the Papal States began official trials for the first time. Vatican prosecutors under Alessandro Didi want to investigate signs that the “Vatican Girl” was abducted or murdered. “I’m sure there are many people in the Vatican, including high-ranking people, who know what happened then,” Pietro Orlandi said at the time. A parliamentary inquiry is also planned in Italy.

Controversy in the case

The case is not without controversy. In April, during a trial with Vatican prosecutors, Pietro played a tape of an alleged conversation between a journalist in Rome and the head of a criminal organization. In the recording, the boss pointed out that John Paul II, who died in 2005, was outside the Vatican walls at night with top clerics.

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Part of the recording was broadcast on an Italian TV show starring Orlandi. He said on TV that he had heard that Karol Wojtyla (Johannes Paul) would go out with two friends, two Polish priests, and certainly not to “bless houses”. His comments have unleashed a storm of anger – even Pope Francis has defended his predecessor against “attacks and baseless accusations”.

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