Evidence implicates gang in Vatican schoolgirl disappearance

A missiing-persons poster on a wall in Rome in 1983 (Crux)

Evidence implicating members of a Rome underworld gang in the kidnapping of a Vatican schoolgirl has raised fresh questions over a 40-year-old mystery that has embarrassed the Holy See. Source: The Times.

Emanuela Orlandi, then aged 15 and the daughter of a Vatican messenger, was on her way home from a flute lesson when she disappeared from a street in Rome on June 22, 1983.

The case was at one point linked to an international plot to blackmail the Vatican, with suggestions Emanuela was being held by Turkish terrorists demanding the release of Mehmet Ali Agca, the gunman who shot and wounded Pope John Paul II in 1981.

Later investigators looked into claims she had been seized by members of the Magliana Band, a criminal organisation, in an attempt to recover money lost by gangsters in the collapse of Banco Ambrosiano, a Vatican-linked bank.

Roberto Calvi, the Banco Ambrosiano chairman known as “God’s banker” because of his close association with the Holy See, fled Italy before the bank’s collapse. His body was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge in London in 1982.

Testimony first delivered in 2008 by Salvatore Sarnataro is throwing fresh light on Emanuela’s case. Mr Sarnataro told police that his gangster son had confessed to participating in an operation to shadow and kidnap the girl on the orders of Enrico De Pedis, a boss of the Magliana Band.

According to a report published at the weekend by La Repubblica, Mr Sarnataro told police that his son Marco, who died in 2007, had made the admission when both men were in prison on drugs charges. Mr Sarnataro said Marco told him he had been rewarded for the “courtesy” with the gift of a Suzuki sports motorbike.


Emanuela Orlandi: Secret evidence implicates gang in disappearance of Vatican schoolgirl (The Times

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