The Vatican opened two tombs at the Teutonic Cemetery as part of an investigation into the disappearance of a young girl in Rome 36 years ago.

On June 22nd, 1983 at the age of 15 Emanuela Orlandi was last seen taking the bus home from a music lesson in Rome before her mysterious disappearance. She was the daughter of a clerk of the Prefecture of the Papal Household and a citizen of Vatican City.

The unsolved case was the subject of extreme media attention in Italy, having been officially closed in 2016 with no more leads. However, Orlandi’s mother and brother requested the tombs be opened after receiving an anonymous call saying the graves near an angel statue in the Teutonic Cemetery could provide insight into her disappearance.

Overseen by the rector of the Teutonic College along with Orlandi’s family and their lawyer, a team of 15 led by a forensic anthropologist exhumed the tombs of Princesses Sophie von Hohenlohe and Charlotte Federica of Mecklenburg. The two died in 1836 and 1840 respectively.

According to Interim director of the Holy See press office Alessandro Gisotti, unearthing the tombs came up empty-handed, no human remains found in either.

“The research has given negative results: no human findings or funerary urns were found.”

Given the results of the investigation, Orlandi’s family asked “why during the last year there were people” who “led them” to these two tombs.

The two princesses family’s were unaware of their remains having been moved, so Gisotti said the next step will be to examine documentation about restructuring of the cemetery during the late 1800s and 1960 to 1970s.

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