IN this file photo taken on May 27, 2012, demonstrators hold a poster of Emanuela Orlandi during Pope Benedict XVI’s prayer in St. Peter’s Square. The Vatican has decided to open an internal probe into the case of Emanuela Orlandi, a teenager who disappeared in 1983 in one of Italy’s darkest mysteries.—AFP
IN this file photo taken on May 27, 2012, demonstrators hold a poster of Emanuela Orlandi during Pope Benedict XVI’s prayer in St. Peter’s Square. The Vatican has decided to open an internal probe into the case of Emanuela Orlandi, a teenager who disappeared in 1983 in one of Italy’s darkest mysteries.—AFP

ROME: Teenager Emanuela Orlandi went missing in Italy 36-years ago, but her elder brother Pietro has never stopped looking for her.

As the Vatican prepares to exhume two graves tipped to possibly hold her remains, his search may soon be over -- though the 60-year old said on Wednesday he still hopes to find her alive.

“I’ve always hoped she’s alive, and to find her alive,” says Orlandi, whose 88-year-old mother still lives within the Vatican walls.

“But if Emanuela is dead and is buried there, it’s right that what has been hidden for so many years come to light”.

Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican employee, was last seen leaving a music class aged 15, and theories have circulated for decades about who took her and where her body may lie.

The tombs will be opened Thursday after the family’s lawyer received an anonymous tip-off with a picture of an angel-topped grave in the Teutonic Cemetery.

The Vatican said it was acting on a request by the Orlandi family to look into “the possible concealment of her body” there.

The small cemetery, usually the last resting place for German-speaking members of Catholic institutions, lies bey­ond St Peter’s Basilica in an area off limits to tourists.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2019