“During restoration works in a space annexed to the Apostolic Nunciature of Italy… fragments of human bone were found,” the Vatican said in a statement referring to the diplomatic office of the Holy See in Rome.
The statement said chief prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone was heading the investigation. Forensic specialists have been asked to determine the “age, sex and date of death” of the body, according to Reuters.
Italian media reports said forensic scientists were examining if the remains might be those of Emanuela Orlandi, the 15-year-old daughter of a member of the Vatican police who disappeared in 1983. Police are also checking if the remains belong to Mirella Gregori, another 15-year-old who had disappeared in Rome 40 days before Orlandi.
Vatican City (/ˈvætɪkən/ ( listen)), officially Vatican City State (Italian: Stato della Città del Vaticano;[d] Latin: Status Civitatis Vaticanae),[e][f] is an independent city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. Established with the Lateran Treaty (1929), it is distinct from yet under “full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction” of the Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes).[g] With an area of 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of about 1,000,it is the smallest state in the world by both area and population.
The Vatican City is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal–monarchical state (a type of theocracy) ruled by the pope who is, religiously speaking, the bishop of Rome and head of the Catholic Church. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergy of various national origins. Since the return of the popes from Avignon in 1377, they have generally resided at the Apostolic Palace within what is now Vatican City, although at times residing instead in the Quirinal Palacein Rome or elsewhere.
Orlandi’s disappearance was widely linked to organised crime or to an attempt to force the release of Mehmet Ali Agca, a Turkish man who had tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981, according to BBC.
Orlandi’s brother Pietro has campaigned for decades to find out what happened to her and has accused the Vatican of remaining silent.
The Vatican statement, however, made no mention of Orlandi. Investigators have not ruled out that the disappearance of Orlandi and Gregori could be connected.