Expert: Vatican space holds bones of dozens
VATICAN CITY — A genetics expert retained by the family of a girl who went missing in 1983 said Saturday an underground space near a Vatican cemetery holds thousands of bones from dozens of individuals, both “adult and non-adult.”
The expert, Giorgio Portera, said the “enormous” size of the collection under the Teutonic College was revealed when Vatican-appointed experts began cataloguing the remains, which were discovered last week .
“We want to know why and how” the bones ended up there, Portera said. Fragments were also found, complicating the forensic experts’ work, he said.
Portera is working for the family of Emanuela Orlandi, a Vatican citizen who vanished at 15 after she left her family’s Vatican City apartment for a music lesson in Rome. Some have theorized the girl was kidnapped in a ransom bid to win freedom for the Turkish gunman who wounded Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square in 1981.
A Vatican statement Saturday made no mention of the number of remains in the newly discovered space near the Teutonic Cemetery but said the forensic work would resume on July 27.
Orlandi’s family previously received an anonymous tip to search near the 19th-century tombs of two German princesses in the tiny graveyard.
But when the Vatican opened the tombs recently at the family’s request, they were empty.