Bone discovery at the Vatican prompts family to demand answers


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Two days after bone fragments were found at the Vatican, the brother of a teenage girl who went missing 35 years ago is calling for Pope Francis to share information he believes the religious leader has about her disappearance.

Bone discovery at the Vatican prompts family to demand answers

Emanuela Orlandi went missing on June 22, 1983, after leaving her house for a music lesson, sparking conspiracy theories and rumors that persist to this day. The discovery of skull and teeth bones at the Vatican's Italian embassy Tuesday rekindled speculation from Pietro Orlandi, Emanuela's brother. The possibility that the bones could be hers is painful to think about, Pietro Orlandi told NBC News.

"If Emanuela's bones really were found here at the Vatican Embassy, the truth needs to come out after 35 years of silence and cover-ups," heeee said. "Clearly these 35 years weighed heavily on the Vatican's image, because there must be something unspeakable in this story."

He has met with Pope Francis to plead his case, convinced the Holy See knows what happened.

"Maybe now they understand that this story will never go away. It will continue until we find the truth," he said.

The Vatican will conduct DNA tests on the bones to determine the age and gender of the remains.

"Above all we need to establish the period [of death] before we jump to conclusions," Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said. "The [outcomes of the investigation] isn't anything that will be known in a few days, it will take time."

The Orlandi family hired a lawyer who said the statement provided by the Holy See "provides hardly any information."

Pietro Orlandi organized a demonstration in June demanding answers.

"A few days after Emanuela disappeared, Monsignor Giovanni Battista Morandini told my dad that the state was concerned about the incident and that it was suggested to plug the leak before it was too late. I think the decision to drop the investigation was a consequence of those words," Orlandi said in June.

The remains discovered this week could belong to another 15-year-old girl, Mirella Gregori, who disappeared about 40 days before Orlandi did.

"I don't want to delude myself, I want to keep my feet on the ground but in my heart I hope the bones belong to Mirella so that we can put an end to this story and have a place to weep and take a flower to my sister," Mirella's sister, Maria Antonietta Gregori, told the Italian press.

Italian media reported that the property where the remains were found once belonged to a Jewish businessman who was party of the Nazi party. When the racial laws were introduced in that country, he converted to Catholicism.

By Nicholas Sakelaris

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