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Rome Reports

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Vatican digging through the dead to find remains of missing girl


This Thursday two tombs in the Vatican's Teutonic Cemetery will open after nearly 200 years.

The first is the tomb of Princess Sophia von Hohenlohe, who died in 1836. The second is that of Carlota Federica of Mecklenburg, who died four years later.

The goal is to see if inside are the remains of Emanuela Orlandi, a 15-year-old girl who disappeared in Rome in 1983. She was the daughter of a Vatican clerk and her unsolved case has attracted extreme media attention in Italy.

The unearthing operation will last a few hours. Then, analyzing the remains will take between 20 and 60 days to verify if they are Emanuela Orlandi's.

The Vatican agreed to dig up the graves at the insistence of the girl's family. They had received an anonymous call pointing to this place.

Last year the Holy See had examined some human remains found in the nunciature in Italy. The tests revealed the bones were more than 100 years old, so they could not have been hers.