Vatican's Lost Girl Returns!

Unveiling a 40-Year Mystery: Vatican’s Lost Girl Returns!

The baffling case of Emanuela Orlandi, a 15-year-old girl who disappeared in Rome 40 years ago, has recently taken an unexpected turn. As new revelations emerge, her family finds themselves entangled in a controversial blame game, involving the Vatican and Rome prosecutors. This captivating saga has captivated Italy for decades, fueling numerous conspiracy theories that encompass the mafia, international terrorists, and even high-ranking members of the Catholic Church. With the release of the thought-provoking Netflix docuseries “Vatican Girl” by filmmaker Mark Lewis, international attention has intensified.

Main Body: Pietro Orlandi, Emanuela’s brother, has devoted his life to unraveling the mystery surrounding his sister’s disappearance. In a press conference held recently, he vehemently dismissed the Vatican and Rome prosecutors’ attempt to cast blame on their family. During a recent broadcast, the Italian news channel La7 presented a compelling report derived from an investigative dossier provided by the Vatican to the prosecutors. This dossier contained a series of correspondences involving Agostino Casaroli, the former Vatican secretary of state, and a Colombian priest who played the roles of spiritual guide and confessor for the Orlandi family.

Pietro Orlandi & Natalina Orlandi, siblings of Emanuela Orlandi, deliver a press conference

According to the verified documents, Mario Meneguzzi, the husband of Emanuela’s maternal aunt, had allegedly sexually harassed Emanuela’s older sister Natalina during the time of Emanuela’s disappearance. This revelation raised suspicions that Meneguzzi may have been involved in the missing girl’s case. However, the Orlandi family asserts that the claim against Meneguzzi was thoroughly investigated and dismissed. They now fear that the Vatican dossier does not contain the investigatory leads they had hoped would implicate the Vatican’s involvement in the case.

In response to the documentary, the Vatican expressed its desire to uncover the truth surrounding the facts and urged the exploration of all investigative hypotheses. They emphasized that the priest involved had not violated any vows related to the sacred sacrament of penance. On June 22, 1983, Emanuela disappeared after attending a music lesson near the Sant’Apollinare Opus Dei Catholic Church in Rome, leaving behind a haunting mystery that endures to this day. Living within the fortified walls of Vatican City, Emanuela’s disappearance struck a chord with the nation, and her mother continues to reside within Vatican City to this day.


As the 40th anniversary of Emanuela’s disappearance approached, Pope Francis mentioned the ongoing saga in his Sunday angelus, expressing solidarity with the family and praying for all families burdened by the loss of a loved one. This gesture gave the Orlandi family hope that the documents in the Vatican dossier might unveil a fresh lead. However, doubts persist as the focus shifts to the alleged involvement of Emanuela’s uncle, which the family firmly denies. With the quest for truth intensifying, the Orlandi family seeks a parliamentary commission investigation and access to sealed Italian secret service records. Emanuela’s vanishing has long been connected to the notorious Band of Magliana crime gang, whose leader was buried in the Opus Dei church near her last known location. Multiple searches for her body by the Vatican have yielded no answers, leaving this captivating mystery unsolved.

James L. Chatman

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