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Human remains discovered in building attached to Apostolic Nunciature to Italy

Investigators are reportedly looking to match DNA with those of either of two young girls who disappeared separately thirty-five years ago.

View from the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, looking over the Vatican's Saint Peter's Square and out into Rome. (Wikipedia)

30 October 2018 – ROME – Human remains have been uncovered during the course of renovation work being done in a building attached to the Apostolic Nunciature to Italy and reportedly owned by the Holy See. A statement from the Press Office of the Holy See says Vatican police were called to the scene and reported the finding immediately to Italian authorities.

Early reports in the Italian press say the Italian police are treating the matter as a homicide and are leading the technical side of the investigation. Reports also say investigators are attempting to identify the remains by cranial and dental examination. Italy’s daily La Repubblica reports that investigators are also looking to match DNA with those of either of two young girls who disappeared separately thirty-five years ago: Emmanuela Orlandi and Mirella Gregori.

The Orlandi case is one that has held the attention of Italians and of Romans especially through the years. Ms. Orlandi lived inside Vatican City, where her father worked at the Institute for the Works of Religion — the IOR — commonly known as the “Vatican Bank”. Sightings of Ms. Orlandi have been reported over the years, but never verified.

Neither case of disappearance has ever been solved.

The early report from the Italian wire service, ANSA, says the remains were in fact discovered Monday afternoon, and that it is not yet certain how old they are, or whether they belong to a single person. The ANSA report also notes that similar episodes have occurred in the past.

CWR’s unofficial translation of the statement from the Press Office of the Holy See is below:

During some renovations to a room annexed to the Apostolic Nunciature in Italy, situated in Rome, Via Po n.27, some human bone fragments were found.

The Corps of the Gendarmerie promptly intervened on the scene, informing the Superiors of the Holy See, who immediately informed the appropriate Italian authorities for the investigations and the necessary cooperation in the matter.

At present, Rome’s Chief Prosecutor, Dr. Giuseppe Pignatone, has ordered the forensic division and mobile squad of Rome’s police headquarters to establish the age, sex and date of death.


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About Christopher R. Altieri 106 Articles
Christopher R. Altieri is a journalist, writer, and editor based in Rome, Italy. He spent more than a dozen years on the news desk at Vatican Radio. He holds the PhD from the Pontifical Gregorian University, and is the author of The Soul of a Nation: America as a Tradition of Inquiry and Nationhood.

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