New evidence to suggest audio tapes were tampered with in Emanuela Orlandi case

VATICAN CITY – Awaiting the political commission of enquiry, scheduled for next week, to shed more light on the disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi following the release of the recent Netflix documentary, the spotlight once again turns to the cassette tapes, which new evidence suggests, have been tempered with, judicial sources said. 

 Orlandi, 15 at the time of her disappearance, left her house at 4 p.m. on June 6, 1983 to attend her music lesson in Piazza Sant’Apollinare, where she never arrived. Following the release of a Netflix documentary surrounding the case, Vatican officials have only just opened an investigation into the disappearance in which new evidence has emerged to suggest that audio tapes, recorded by the purported kidnappers, have been tampered with. 

 The cassette tape was sent to Via della Dataria, at the offices of Agenzia Ansa, less than a month after the disappearance of the Vatican citizen, of whom there had been no public information since. Four days before, a version of the tape was left under the colonnade at St. Peter’s and was picked up by Vatican officials. 

 Side A of the tape features male voices with foreign accents reading in Italian and on side B, the voice of a girl undergoing violence can be heard. 

 There are at least two different versions of the side B recording which vary in both terms of content and duration. Forensic sound expert, Marco Perino was commissioned by the Orlandi family to analyse the tape. Together with his colleague Paolo Dal Checco, he explained this anomaly. “There are things that do not add up,” he explained to Il Fatto Quotidiano, “From the spectrogram you can see cuts that could have been made on the original tape. Another anomaly is that in one of the two versions of the B-side transfer, there are male voices. The other version is longer, but despite this contains no male voices.” 

 Speaking to Emanuela’s brother, Pietro Orlandi, Il Fatto Quotidiano asked whether he had heard the original tape before it had been tampered with. 

 “Only my father heard the original,” Pietro Orlandi explained, “He seemed to recognise Emanuela’s voice when she says ‘Please, let me sleep’. A few days later, investigators assured my father that it was definitely not her.” 

 “When the investigation closed in 2015,” Pietro Orlandi continued, “I was left in doubt and searched the public prosecutor’s office and found only part of the recording. I listened to it and also had the feeling that it was my sister’s voice. In fact, I am quite certain of it.”

 The controversies surrounding the tapes will be investigated by the Bicameral Commission of Inquiry once the measure has been passed by parliament.