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Bones Found Beneath Pontifical Teutonic College In Search For Emanuela Orlandi

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Vatican City officials discovered two sets of bones linked to the 1983 disappearance of a 15-year-old girl beneath a stone manhole cover, the Vatican announced Saturday.

Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican City employee, went missing over 30 years ago after leaving for a music lesson in Rome. (RELATED: A Young Girl Went Missing In The Vatican 30 Years Ago. Today, Officials Grapple With False Leads And Exhumed Tombs)

Vatican City officials opened two tombs on July 11 belonging to two German princesses who died in the 19th century after Orlandi’s family received an anonymous tip last summer that her remains could be buried there, The Telegraph reported Saturday.

In this handout photo provided by the Italian National Police, an aerial view of St. Peter's Square and Via della Conciliazione is seen as Pope Francis leads a Canonization Mass in which John Paul II and John XXIII are to be declared saints on April 27, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Dignitaries, heads of state and Royals from around the world attended the canonisations in the Vatican today. (Photo by Massimo Sestini/Italian National Police via Getty Images)

In this handout photo provided by the Italian National Police, an aerial view of St. Peter’s Square and Via della Conciliazione is seen as Pope Francis leads a Canonization Mass. (Photo by Massimo Sestini/Italian National Police via Getty Images)

Vatican officials discovered no sign of human remains when they opened the tombs, creating an even deeper mystery within Orlandi’s disappearance story.

“For the first time in 36 years, the Vatican has concretely done something important,” Orlandi’s brother, Pietro Orlandi, said on July 11 according to The New York Times.

The city’s investigators identified “two ossuaries placed beneath the floor of an area inside the Pontifical Teutonic College” a few yards behind the princesses’ tombs, Vatican News reported Saturday, citing information from Vatican City spokesperson Alessandro Gisotti.

The ossuaries were “closed by a trap door” and “have been sealed for subsequent examination and possible retrieval of material stored there,” Vatican News continued.

Gisotti also explained how, between the 1960s and ’70s, while the college was trying to expand, the entire cemetery area of the school and the building of the Teutonic College underwent structural work during which time the bones could have been displaced.

It is unclear if the bones belong to the princesses or Orlandi. (RELATED: Vatican Investigates Decades-Old Disappearance Of Teen Girl)

The family’s “interest is to actively cooperate with Vatican prosecutors to understand better how those two tombs could have been empty,” the Orlandis’ lawyer, Laura Sgro, said in a Saturday statement according to The Associated Press. “If we understand together, it’s better.”

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Daniel Christof

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