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HomeLatest NewsDirty Vatican Secret: Disappearance of 15-Year-Old Girl May Hide Holy See-Mafia Connection

Dirty Vatican Secret: Disappearance of 15-Year-Old Girl May Hide Holy See-Mafia Connection

Date: June 9, 2023 Time: 14:38:55

In Italy, for four decades, attempts have been made to find traces of the missing Emanuela Orlandi.


This story has been one of the most mysterious cases of people disappearing without a trace for four decades. It has it all: Italian mafia, terrorists, Vatican secrets, violence and mysterious anonymous letters. It all started when 15-year-old Emanuela Orlandi disappeared one hot Italian day.


She was the fourth of five children born to Ercoli and Maria Orlandi. The girl’s father was a hereditary minister of the Holy See. According to some sources, she was an employee of the Vatican Bank, according to others – an employee of the prefecture of the papal court, in particular, her duties included organizing audiences for the Pope. In any case, her status allowed the Orlandi family to live on the territory of the Vatican, where since time immemorial only members of the clergy and the guard could live.

That fateful day of June 22, 1983, the girl was going to a music school, but she was late. The way was long-you had to go by bus and then walk to Piazza Sant’Apollinare-and Emanuela asked her older brother Pietro hers to accompany her. But the young man refused, citing his facts. Oh how she regretted it later.


Emanuela was late for the flute lesson. As the policeman who saw Orlandi later said, the girl was talking on the street with a smartly dressed unknown man in a green BMW. After a lesson at the academy, the Italian called her older sister Federica hers and told her that a stranger offered her a job at a cosmetics company, either handing out brochures or selling cosmetics at an exhibition. But she Emanuela decided to consult with her family.

In the evening, the girl was supposed to meet another sister, Maria Christina, but they never saw each other. Accounts of what happened next vary. According to one of them, after the lesson, Emanuela, together with two of her friends, went to the bus stop: the girls left and Orlandi stayed to wait for her bus. According to another version, Emanuela told her friend that she would meet with a possible employer that night. Already moving away from the stop, a friend saw Emanuela talking to a curly-haired girl, whose identity could never be established.

Emanuela disappeared on June 22, 1983.



Already on the night of June 22, Emanuela’s parents raised the alarm. They called her daughter’s friends and teachers and then went to the police. The news of the disappearance of a girl from the Vatican quickly spread throughout Rome, and already on June 24, newspapers published articles about Emanuel, where the family’s phone number was indicated. Then the mysterious calls began.

The first was heard on June 25. A young man who introduced himself as Pierluigi said that he had seen a similar girl and accurately described Emanuela’s hairstyle and flute case. The girl sold cosmetics and called herself Barbara. When a young man and her girlfriend asked her to play the flute, she refused saying that she would have to wear glasses for her astigmatism, which she dislikes so much. It seemed the truth.

The next day, a second call rang. The owner of a bar located near the Academy said that he spoke with a girl who looked like Emanuela. She introduced herself as Barbara of Venice, she said that she made money selling cosmetics, she ran away from home, but would return for her sister’s wedding. The Orlandi family was confused: only relatives knew about the upcoming celebration, but on the other hand, Mario was wrong to say that Emanuela was tall, although not tall, in fact, she was about sixty meters.


On July 3, Pope John Paul II, after a public prayer, addressed the possible kidnappers of the girl with the request to return her home. On July 5, another call rang. Later, the caller she called was nicknamed The American due to her distinctive accent. He declared that Emanuela was alive. She was promised that she would be returned after the release of Turkish terrorist, Gray Wolves member Mehmet Ali Agzhu. In 1981, she attacked the pontiff, wounding him in the stomach. The Vatican rejected the deal. The American made 16 calls, but at the end of October the connection was cut off. Subsequently, there were other anonymous people who demanded the release of Agzha in exchange for Orlandi. One of them even provided proof that they had Emanuela: a copy of her pass to the music school and a handwritten note. But the police did not find the conclusive evidence.

Over time, the version about the connection between Agzhu and Orlandi was the least believed.

Pope John Paul II pardoned the failed assassin Mehmet Ali Agzhu and met with him a couple of years after the assassination attempt.



The investigation has reached a dead end, but Italy has never forgotten the missing Vatican Girl. In 2005, in the program “Who saw them?” she received an anonymous call. To solve the Orlandi case, the person she called advised to look in one of the tombs of the Roman basilica of Sant’Apollinare and remember the service that “Renatino Poletti had done”.

What a surprise when the police discovered in the crypt of the 7th century temple, where the papal cardinals were always buried, the body of the mafioso Enrico de Pedis, known as Renatino. Until he was shot dead in 1990, he was a powerful man in Rome, controlling the capital’s drug business and having connections to the Vatican, particularly Vicar General Hugo Poletti. It was rumored that Renatino deserved a place of honor in the basilica for the large donations to the Holy See.

Enrico de Pedis until the assassination in 1990 was an influential person in Rome, controlled the metropolitan drug business and had connections with the Vatican.

Photo: en.wikipedia.org

In 2006, Renatino’s former lover, Sabrina Minardi, said in an interview that the gangsters somehow confessed to her: it was their gang that kidnapped Emanuela. Two years later, Minardi clarified that Renatino personally took the girl out of town and killed her, and hid her body in a concrete mixer. Then the woman remembered that she herself had seen Emanuela. The girl was held in the basement of a house on the outskirts of Rome. The police found out that the building really belongs to the mafia, and during a search in the basement they found a fragment of the chain. But they couldn’t prove Renatino’s connection to Orlandi’s disappearance.

In 2011, the same version was confirmed by former prosecutor Maurizio Abbatino. He explained that in the early 1980s, the Vatican Bank borrowed a large amount from the mafia through an affiliated bank. The bank blew up and the gang demanded their money back. But the Vatican was in no hurry, and the mafia began to blackmail, organizing attacks on people close to the Holy See. Perhaps one of them was the Orlandi kidnapping. But even here the investigation had no compelling evidence.


In addition to the main versions, there have been suggestions that Emanuela is alive and living abroad; converted to Islam; she was kidnapped to participate in sex parties and prostitution, and then allegedly murdered by the pontiff’s guards. It was also assumed that the Vatican still found the girl and paid for her life in London. In a Netflix documentary, a childhood friend of Emanuela’s revealed that someone close to Pope John Paul abused Orlandi.


Emanuela’s family has had many questions of the Holy See over the years. Initially, the Vatican was unwilling to help in the search for the girl. Family members pinned high hopes on Pope Francis, who was perceived as a progressive and liberal pontiff.

– They decided for themselves that the case was closed. Under Pope Francis, the walls got even higher. I met him a few days after his election and he told me: “Emanuela is in heaven,” Emanuela’s brother Pietro recalls of the 2013 meeting. He decided the pontiff knew something else and tried to arrange another meeting, but the saint father did not want to see him again.

Not long ago, the Vatican reopened the investigation into Emanuela’s case after numerous appeals from Pietro. In addition to the Orlandi case, the Vatican will investigate the disappearance of 15-year-old Mirella Gregory, who disappeared a few weeks before her Emanuela, after having told her mother that she was going on a date. It was long believed that there could be a connection between the two disappearances.

– They often told me: “Give it up, enjoy life,” says Pietro. – But until I understand what happened to him, I will not rest.

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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