The chats, the former Nar and London. Pietro Orlandi: “There is a new lead on Emanuela”

“I will never stop looking for my sister.” For forty-one years Pietro, Emanuela Orlandi’s brother, has been fighting for the truth. It was June 22, 1983, when the then 15-year-old Vatican citizen left …

The chats, the former Nar and London.  Pietro Orlandi: "There is a new lead on Emanuela"

“I will never stop looking for my sister.” For forty-one years Pietro, Emanuela Orlandi’s brother, has been fighting for the truth. It was June 22, 1983, when the then 15-year-old Vatican citizen left the music school in Piazza Sant’Apollinare in Rome, and then vanished into thin air. The beginning of an infinite mystery which, over time, has opened up disturbing scenarios, from the track of kidnapping of a sexual nature to that of international terrorism. And then a string of names and alleged witnesses: the Magliana gang, the “grey wolves” and the secret services. In the background the Vatican and the image of what the press dubbed “the girl with the band”.

And now that about the mysterious cold case, which has always been linked to the disappearance of Mirella Gregori, the bicameral commission of inquiry, which started last autumn, tries to pull the strings, strengthening the hypothesis of the “English lead”. “I was contacted via email by a man who made me understand that he was a former Nar. He is aware of information that supports the hypothesis that Emanuela passed through London”, he reveals Pietro Orlandi to the editorial staff of IlGiornale.

Pietro Orlandi, are you satisfied with how the work of the Commission of Inquiry is progressing?

“As I said some time ago, I am very happy that a collegial body of the Italian Republic is dealing with Emanuela’s affair. It had never happened in forty years. Last summer, when the situation was at a standstill, a communicated from Palazzo Chigi in which the government expressed itself favorably regarding the establishment of the Bicameral investigation. And for us, I am talking about myself and my family, that was an important sign of change compared to the past. Furthermore, the work has begun sooner than I expected, one more reason to be confident and optimistic.”

Today there will be the hearing of Emanuela’s friends. Do you think any interesting details might emerge?

“It is certainly a positive fact that Emanuela’s friends are being questioned. However, I would like the investigations not to start from scratch, but from the most recent news. As I also told the Commission, when I was called to the hearing together with my sisters, I last May, there are three tracks that deserve to be explored further”.

Which ones are they?

“I’m talking about the alleged negotiation between the magistrate Giancarlo Capaldo and the Vatican at the time of the opening of the tomb of Enrico De Pedis (known as Renatino) in the basilica of Sant’Apollinare; of the WhatsApp messages that Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui and Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda exchanged, when they were both members of Cosea and, finally, the London track. I have handed over to the Commission all the documentation available to me.”

What do you mean by “documentation”?

“I am referring to the chats between Francesca Chaouqui and Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda, which were given to me by Chaouqui herself, and to the documents relating to the so-called ‘London lead'”.

What’s written in the chats?

“Partly they are those published by the newspaper Domani: ‘In September we have to make that Orlandi stuff disappear and pay the grave robbers. You need to talk to your dad about this., one of the messages. I delivered eight pages to the Commission, although obviously not all of them talk about Emanuela.”

Regarding the “English track”, can you explain to us what it is and how it was born?

“It all starts from five sheets found in a Vatican safe, which Chaouqui told me about, which lists the expenses that the ecclesiastical authorities would have incurred to assist Emanuela in London. The Vatican claims that those documents are a forgery, for a whole series of text errors. This does not mean that that information should at least be verified”.

But have you had any feedback on the possibility that Emanuela was taken to England?

“Some time ago, I was contacted via email by a man who made me understand that he was an ex Nar. For a period we had an intense exchange of messages then, all of a sudden, he disappeared.”

Do you think this person is credible?

“I can tell you that he was aware of some information which, from my point of view, supports the London lead.”

Have you ever met him in person?

“No. We only communicated via email and via chat, on Telegram. During the hearing at Palazzo San Macuto, I handed over his telephone number, probable home address and email address. Maybe the Commission or the Prosecutor’s Office will be able to track him down. At least to understand who he is and if he really, as he claims, can confirm that Emanuela was in London for a period.”

Staying on the subject of news, a sound analysis recently highlighted that the voice of the famous “American”, one of the telephone operators who contacted her family following Emanuela’s disappearance, would be 86% compatible with that of the photographer Marco Fassoni Accetti. What do you think?

“During the last investigation, the Rome Prosecutor’s Office had ordered the sound analysis. The assessment was then repeated on the occasion of the documentary Vatican girl by forensic technicians, regularly registered in the register, such as Marco Perino and Paolo Del Checco. In both cases it was ruled out that Accetti’s voice could be compatible with that of the American he called to our house the first few times. While there is a similarity with the telephone operator who called the lawyer Egidio in August 1983, when Mirella Gregori’s affair was linked to that of Emanuela. The person who recently examined Accetti’s voice, comparing it with that of the American, is not a forensic expert. Which is why those analyzes have no value.”

Returning to the Commission of Inquiry, what do you expect?

“I hope that we can get to the truth and close the circle on Emanuela’s kidnapping. But if this doesn’t happen, obviously I don’t hope so, I won’t stop. For me, the Commission is not the last resort, but a precious opportunity to try to add another piece of this very complicated puzzle”.

In forty-one years he has always spoken of “kidnapping” and never of disappearance. Is he still convinced of it?

“It’s not just my belief, there are clear facts that prove it. Emanuela did not leave voluntarily, but she was held against her will. And, no less important, there was a vindication. Especially since, as I often repeat, no one vanishes into thin air. It’s not magic, people don’t disappear. There’s always something, a story behind it.”

From the evening of her disappearance until today, she has never stopped looking for her sister. Has there ever been a moment when you thought about giving up or did you feel tired?

“To never give up. Tiredness is always there and sometimes it makes itself felt more than others. But the desire to know the truth and give justice to Emanuela give me the strength to carry on. This applies to me as well as to my sisters and my mother”.

Speaking of your mother, Maria Pezzano, how is she and what did she tell you about the latest developments?

“Despite her 93 years, my mother is a very strong woman. Luckily, apart from a few small ailments, she is well. She is a very believer and I think that faith has helped her to endure this long wait. Not knowing where she is your daughter, not seeing her again from one day to the next, I think is an excruciating pain for a parent, the eldest. Yet she has never lost hope and her smile.”

Pietro, you often meet young people in schools and universities, where you bear your testimony. What feedback do you receive from the new generations?

“Talking to the guys is amazing and extremely

edifying. I always notice that they listen with great interest and participation. They are the future. My hope is that they can take up the legacy of my testimony, because Emanuela’s is the story of all of us.”