The Vatican was hoping today to finally solve a three-decades-old disappearance — instead, it ran into a new mystery.
Experts probed a burial ground inside the Holy See walls looking for the remains of Emanuela Orlandi, a Vatican clerk's daughter who's been missing since 1983.
This morning they opened two tombs to see if her body was hidden there.
But both tombs were entirely empty.
They did not even contain the remains of two 19th century princesses supposed to be buried there. Adding to the mystery, one of the tombs led to a large underground room.
The Vatican had reopened the investigation into Orlandi's case in April.
Orlandi's brother told reporters that an anonymous note received by the family and other information indicated that her body could potentially be in the cemetery.
Bones found near the Vatican's embassy to Italy late last year revived interest in Orlandi's disappearance, but analysis of the remains showed they did not belong to Orlandi.
Orlandi's disappearance and that of Mirella Gregori, another 15-year-old girl who disappeared during the same summer, have been the subject of wild speculation in Italy.
In 2018, the Italian investigative reporter Emiliano Fittipaldi wrote about a leaked document that allegedly showed the Vatican spent over 483 million lire (€250,000) on the case between 1983 and 1997.
The Vatican denied the allegations.