Family of missing Vatican teen hoped for clues. Instead they got empty tombs

Vatican citizen Emanuela Orlandi went missing on July 22, 1983.

Rome (CNN)After 36 years of looking for his missing sister, Pietro Orlandi had hoped to finally get an answer on Thursday when the Vatican exhumed two tombs nestled in the shadow of Saint Peter's Basilica.

Instead, it took just a few hours for his hopes to be dashed.
The tombs were empty. There were no human remains, no funeral urns, and certainly no clue as to how his 15-year-old sister Emanuela Orlandi disappeared on her way home from a music lesson one summer's evening in 1983.
    The operation to open the tombs in the Teutonic Cemetery involved over a dozen Vatican workers, and came after an anonymous tip-off to the family to "look where the angel is pointing" -- apparently referring to an angel sculpture in the small graveyard that is reserved for German-speaking Catholic burials.
    Emanuela's brother Pietro Orlandi arrives at the Vatican ahead of the exhumation.
    The first tomb -- which belonged to Princess Sophie Von Hohenlohe -- was "completely empty," according to Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti.
    Likewise, the second tomb -- of Princess Carlotta Federica di Mecklemburgo -- was also opened and "no human remains were found," Gisotti added.
    Relatives of the two princesses have been informed of the result of the search, Gisotti said.

    'I could have expected everything -- except empty graves'

    The empty graves only deepen the mystery surrounding missing teenager Emanuela, who was the daughter of a prominent Vatican employee and lived inside the holy city's walls with her family.
    "I could have expected everything -- except empty graves," her brother Pietro told CNN at the exhumation site.