VATICAN CITY – 35 years ago, two teenage girls went missing in Rome. This week, human remains found during the reconstruction of the Vatican Embassy in Italy could reopen a case that’s been cold for decades.
Construction workers found a whole skeleton, followed by the discovery of bone fragments.
Italian media immediately drew connections between the bones that were found and the disappearance of Mirella Gregori and Emanuela Orlandi.
In 1983, Mirella Gregori answered the intercom at her parent’s apartment and told her family that it was a friend from school. She went outside to speak with him and never came back home.
Emanuela Orlandi was the daughter of Ercole Orlandi, an employee of the Institute for the Works of Religion, the Vatican’s private bank. Emanuela’s father died in 2004, one month after giving his last interview regarding the disappearance of his daughter.
Allegedly, Emanuela was last seen in the summer of 1983, climbing into a large, dark-colored BMW.
On July 3, 1983, Saint Pope John Paul II appealed the those responsible for Orlandi’s disappearance to come forward in the Angelus.
One theory of her disappearance was that she was kidnapped by a terrorist group who demanded the release of Mehmet Ali Ağca, the Turkish man who shot Pope John Paul II in Saint Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981.
The Orlandi family is pressing the Vatican for more details regarding the bones found in construction.
“We are asking Rome prosecutors and the Holy See by what means the bones were found and how their discovery was placed in relation to the disappearances of Emanuela Orlandi and Mirella Gregori,” the Orlandi family lawyer, Laura Scro said.
Investigators are currently comparing the skull and teeth found with the DNA on file for both Orlandi and Gregori.
The first scan of the bones found confirmed that they were female remains. There is still a chance the bones could belong to two different individuals.
Experts say it could be a week to ten days before answers are revealed.