Human bone fragments found inside Vatican could be those of missing 15-year-old girl
Posted about 4 hours ago

Black and white image of poster of missing Italian teenager Emanuela Orlandi who went missing in 1983

PHOTO: A poster seeking information on Italian teenager Emanuela Orlandi, who went missing in 1983. (AP)

Human bone fragments that could belong to a 15-year-old girl who went missing more than 30 years ago in the Vatican have been found, leading the lawyer for the missing girl's family to urge Italian prosecutors and the Vatican to release more details.

Key points:

Emanuela Orlandi, daughter of a Vatican employee, went missing in 1983

A second teenager, Mirella Gregori, also went missing in 1983

Experts are attempting to identify the bone fragments through DNA

The discovery of the bone fragments were found in an annex of Holy See's embassy in Rome on Tuesday (local time), which raised immediate speculation over whether they belong to Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican employee whose fate remains one of the Vatican's most enduring mysteries.

News agency ANSA reported that prosecutors were focusing on whether the remains could be linked either to Orlandi, who disappeared in June 22, 1983, or another 15-year-old girl, Mirella Gregori, who went missing a month earlier in Rome, on May 7, 1983.

Orlandi disappeared after leaving her family's Vatican City apartment to go to a music lesson in Rome.

"We are asking Rome prosecutors and the Holy See by what means the bones were found and how their discovery was placed in relation to the disappearances of Emanuela Orlandi and Mirella Gregori," lawyer Laura Scro said, adding that the Vatican statement '"provides little information".

The Vatican said human bone fragments were found this week during renovations of a room annexed to the embassy and that Italian forensic experts had been approached by prosecutors to determine the age and gender of the body, and a possible date of death.

Experts said say that could be determined within the next 10 days if adequate DNA was extracted from the fragments.

The Orlandi and Gregori disappearances have never been formally linked.

The Orlandi disappearance is by far the higher profile, with its Vatican links and many twists.

Over the years, her case has been linked to everything from the plot to kill St John Paul II to the financial scandal of the Vatican bank and Rome's criminal underworld.