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Vatican grave search for missing Italian teen finds tombs empty

Vatican grave search for missing Italian teen finds tombs empty
A search of tombs in the heart of the Vatican for the remains of a teenage girl who vanished 36 years ago has proven fruitless after forensic experts discovered the site empty.

The family of Emanuela Orlandi, 15, the daughter of a Vatican bank employee, received an anonymous tip-off last year that she was buried “where the angel looks.” On Thursday morning forensic experts searched two 19th century tombs they believed fit the description, expecting to find at least the remains of two princesses believed to be buried there in the 1800s, but found no sign of the bodies. 

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Experts had warned the family that any remains would need to be tested for Orlandi’s DNA. However the 15-person team that excavated the tombs of Princess Sophie von Hohenlohe and Princess Charlotte Frederica of Mecklenburg, who died in 1836 and 1840 respectively, found nothing. 

They found nothing, not even the remains of those who were meant to officially be buried there,” said the missing girl's brother, Pietro Orlandi. “I am relieved by it. They dug under one of the tombs and found a room underneath completely empty. In the other one they found a sarcophagus, also empty.

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The teenager went missing after leaving the Vatican for a music lesson in 1983, sparking a mysterious case that has captivated Italy for decades. An anonymous tip-off with a picture of an angel statue in the Teutonic Cemetery, a tiny burial site inside the Vatican read: “If you want to find Emanuela, search where the angel looks.”

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