"Without any reservations," Pope Francis wants the truth about the case of Emanuela Orlandi, a Vatican schoolgirl who disappeared from the city-state some 40 years ago.
The case got renewed attention after true crime series Vatican Girl: The Disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi premiered on Netflix last October 2022.
Reuters reported that Vatican chief prosecutor Alessandro Diddi reopened the investigation last January after inheriting the case files from his retired predecessor. Diddi said Pope Francis had an "iron will" regarding the case.
The pope also gave Diddi “maximum freedom of action" to investigate "on a broad scale without conditions of any kind," according to the Catholic News Agency.
Orlandi's older brother Pietro and their family lawyer recently met with Diddi "for more than five hours," Reuters reported.
Orlandi, the then 15-year-old daughter of an usher living in the state city, didn't return home on June 22, 1983, after her music lessons in Rome.
Her disappearance has become the subject of several theories over the years.
Italian media in the '80s speculated that Orlandi had been kidnapped in an attempt to secure freedom for Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turk who got jailed for trying to assassinate Pope John Paul II. Nothing came out and just eventually faded.
In the coming years, most recently in 2006, Agca claimed Orlandi is alive and well, "perhaps in a convent," according to the Catholic News Agency. This, however, has never been confirmed.
She was also linked to the grave of Enrico De Pedis, a mobster buried in a Rome basilica. His tomb was opened in 2012, Reuters reported, but nothing was revealed.
In 2019, the Orlandi family received a letter saying her body might be hidden among the dead in the Teutonic Cemetery just inside the Vatican walls. Two tombs were opened and, again, nothing was found—not even the bones of two 19th-century princesses supposedly buried there.
In 2018, bones were found during groundwork at the Vatican embassy, fueling speculations that they might be Orlandi's or that of Mirella Gregori, another teenager who disappeared in 1983. The DNA tests, however, were negative.
Others claimed the Italian Mafia was involved in her disappearance. She was also supposedly kidnapped on the order of a cleric to send a message to her Vatican-employed father, the Catholic News Agency reported.
According to Reuters, police have also since considered the possibility that Orlandi was abducted and, worse, killed for reasons that have nothing to do with the Vatican. She may have also been a victim of human trafficking.
Orlandi would be 55 years old now.