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CRIME

Vatican to open investigation into cold case of missing teen

The Vatican is opening an internal investigation into the case of Emanuela Orlandi, a teenager who disappeared in 1983 in one of Italy's darkest mysteries

Vatican to open investigation into cold case of missing teen
Demonstrators hold posters of Emanuela Orlandi, last seen in June 1983. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The Holy See has “authorised the opening of an investigation”, the family's lawyer Laura Sgro told Italian media on Wednesday. The Vatican declined to comment.

Orlandi, the daughter of a member of the Vatican's police, 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 Vatican said last month that it may open a tomb within its grounds to see if it holds the girl's remains, after Sgro received an anonymous tip-off telling her to look inside the marble-topped grave.

Orlandi murder: Is a missing teenager buried inside a Vatican tomb?

According to some theories, the teenager was snatched by an organised crime gang to put pressure on Vatican officials to recover a loan.

Another claim was that she was taken to force the release from prison of Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turk who attempted to assassinate Pope Jean Paul II in 1981.

“After 35 years of a failure (on the part of the Vatican) to collaborate, the opening of an investigation is an important step,” Orlandi's brother Pietro was quoted by media as saying.

The family braced for a breakthrough in October when human remains were discovered on a Vatican property, only to be disappointed when tests showed the skeleton did not belong to a teenage girl. 

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BOLOGNA

Italy’s president calls for ‘full truth’ on anniversary of Bologna bombing

President Sergio Mattarella said on Tuesday it was the state's duty to shed more light on the 1980 bombing of Bologna's train station, on the 42nd anniversary of the attack that killed 85 people and injured 200.

Italy's president calls for 'full truth' on anniversary of Bologna bombing

On August 2nd 1980, a bomb exploded in the railway station’s waiting room, causing devastation on an unprecedented scale.

Five members of terrorist groups were later convicted in relation to the bombing, the worst episode in Italy’s ‘Years of Lead’ period of political violence in the 1970s and 80s.

Most recently, in 2020, a former member of the far-right Armed Revolutionary Nucleus (NAR) was sentenced to life imprisonment for providing logistical support to those who carried out the attack.

But suspicions remain of cover-ups and the involvement of “deviant elements” within the nation’s security services, reported Italian news agency Ansa.

READ ALSO: Bologna massacre: 40 years on, questions remain over Italy’s deadliest postwar terror attack

“The bomb that killed people who happened to be at the station on that morning 42 years ago still reverberates with violence in the depths of the country’s conscience,” Mattarella said in a speech marking the anniversary on Tuesday.

“It was the act of cowardly men of unequalled inhumanity, one of the most terrible of the history of the Italian Republic.

A train compartment at Bologna station pictured following the 1980 bombing attributed to the neo-fascist terrorist organization Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari.

“It was a terrorist attack that sought to destabilise democratic institutions and sow fear, hitting ordinary citizens going about their everyday tasks.

“On the day of the anniversary our thoughts go, above all, to the relatives forced to suffer the greatest pain.

“The neo-fascist nature of the massacre has been established in court and further steps have been made to unveil the cover-ups and those who ordered the attack in order to comply with the Republic’s duty to seek the full truth”.

The bombing remains Western Europe’s fourth deadliest postwar terror attack, and one of the most devastating in Italy’s history.

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