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Papal spokesman says Vatican knows nothing about mysterious 1983 kidnapping

Catholic World News - April 16, 2012

Responding to a fresh outbreak of rumors about the unresolved disappearance of a teenage girl, the director of Vatican press office has insisted that there are no clues being hidden at the Vatican.

Emanuela Orlandi, the 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican employee, disappeared in 1983, and police have never determined her fate. Last week, an anonymous source with the Italian prosecutor’s office suggested that the Vatican is withholding some evidence about the case. But Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, denied that claim.

The Vatican has always cooperated fully with the investigation of the Orlandi case, Father Lombardi said, and continues to cooperate. “Continuing to affirm the contrary is completely unjustified.” He attributed the vague references to Vatican secrets as a reflection of the prosecturs’ “anguish and frustration of not being able to discover the truth.”

Soon after Emanuela Orlandi’s disappearance, there were rumors that her fate was somehow linked to an investigation into the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II, or into the Vatican’s involvement in international banking scandals. Later, a police informant with a criminal record hinted that the young woman was buried in the grave of Enrico De Pedis, a leading figure in organized crime. Father Lombardi said that the Vatican “has no objection” if investigators wish to open the tomb of Enrico De Pedis and resolve that possibility.

The Vatican spokesman recalled that Pope John Paul II took a “particular personal interest” in the presumed kidnapping of Emanuela Orlandi, and issued 8 public calls for her release. He reported that the Vatican received several inquiries from investigators, and provided all of the information that was requested, but none shed any light on the young woman’s fate.

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