On October 29, 2018 renovations were being carried out in the Vatican close to the Villa Borghese. Builders were restoring a floor in the janitor's lodge. Considering the age of the buildings and the grounds, this type of work is commonplace, but not what was found which was a human skeleton.
Once the story of the discovery was leaked to the Italian press, one of the first questions to the Holy See was whether the bones could belong to Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican employee who disappeared on June 22, 1983. She had been attending a flute lesson near the 7th-century courtyard of St. Apollinare Church, and was last seen getting into a dark green BMW.
Emanuela was fifteen years old when she disappeared. Throughout the years there have been several "sightings" of her. Father Gabriele Amorth the Vatican's chief exorcist who died in 2016, claimed that through his work he had come across information that she was being kept as a sex slave inside the Vatican City walls.
In 2012, Amorth told La Stampa newspaper, "This was a crime with a sexual motive. Parties were organized with a member of the Vatican gendarmerie acting as the recruiter of the girls. The network involved diplomatic personnel from a foreign embassy to the Holy See. I believe Emanuela ended up a victim of this circle."
Another theory regarding Emanuela's disappearance is that her father worked in the Vatican Bank and that she was kidnapped to silence her father after he allegedly discovered information which connected Roberto Calvi, known as God's Banker to organized crime.
Almost a year to the date before Emanuela's disappearance, Roberto Calvi was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge in London. His pockets were filled with cash and bricks and since 1982 his death has never been resolved as being suicide or murder.
If these possible culprits and conspiracies were not sinister enough, another one was tied to calls Emanuela's family started to receive in the days following her kidnapping. The caller said that she would be released if Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish man who shot and injured Pope John Paul II in 1981 was released. The calls eventually stopped and Agca was pardoned and released in 2010. He said that Emanuela had been kidnapped by a Bulgarian gang, but did not add any further information, leaving the family no closer to finding her. He was believed to be mentally unstable.
In 2012 another attempt was made to solve the mystery of this poor girl's disappearance by opening the grave of Enrico “Renatino” De Pedis a local mob boss who was interred in a crypt under Saint Apollinare Church. The belief was that Emanuela had been buried with him. The grave was opened and mysterious bones were found there, but none were Emanuela's. Another question arose, which was why a member of the Magliana crime family would be buried in a church owned by the Holy See. After the exhumation he was not reinterred there.
Fast forward to a few days before Halloween 2018 when this discovery has come to light. The investigation is now in the hands of Rome's chief prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone who is handling it as a homicide. DNA tests were planned in order to match them either to Emanuela, or Mirella Gregori another teenager who disappeared in May 1983. Her case has never been solved either.
Now a week after the discovery of what was described as an intact skeleton which has been preliminarily identified as belonging to a woman, other bones have been found by police. They were digging in the property basement when they come upon a skull and a lower jaw.
If these bones are indeed those of Orlandi or Gregori, only part of the mystery has been solved. Who took them, who killed them and the reason why will remain unknown. If these bones turn out to belong to neither girl, then the the first question of many is why these remains were buried in secret on grounds that belong to the Vatican.
Update - November 22, 2018
The tests conducted on human bones found buried under the pavement of the Apostolic Nunciature of Via Po in Rome at the end of October, do not belong to Mirella Gregori or Emanuela Orlandi. This is according to an article appearing in La Repubblica newspaper.
According to the tests they predate the 1980s when both girls disappeared.
In the past the Holy See have been criticized for their reluctance in cooperating with the investigation of these two disappearances.
The property where the bones were found is an extraterritorial Church property, located in Rome’s city center. The villa was gifted to Pope Pius XII in 1949 by a wealthy entrepreneur called Abramo Giacobbe Isaia Levi to thank the Vatican for welcoming and protecting Jews under fascist persecution. Gregori lived just a few blocks of this location when she disappeared.
An additional lead was that the body might belong to the wife of the custodian of the property, who disappeared in the 1960s.
These bones are too old to be the custodian's wife and radiocarbon dating will be done at the end of November.
So the mystery continues.
Skulduggery at the Vatican
Source - FoxNews
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by Marlene Pardo Pellicer