New twist in hunt for Vatican teen Emanula Orlandi - 36 years after her disappearance

An unexpected development in the three-decade-long search for a missing teen has taken a forensics team underneath Vatican City.

Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a clerk at the Vatican, was just 15-years-old when she went missing on her way to a music lesson on June 22, 1983. She was never seen again. 

On Saturday (local time) experts unearthed thousands of bones and bone fragments from two ossuaries - small, sacred storage deposits for the dead in the city's Teutonic Cemetery - following an anonymous tip-off to the Orlandi family.

It was suggested to the Orlandis that Emanuela's remains may be located at the burial site. Forensic experts exhumed the tombs of two 19th century princesses in their first search on July 11.

However, the bones of the princesses were also missing.

In Saturday's latest search, the ossuaries were discovered beneath a trapdoor in the floor of a local building adjacent to the tombs of the princesses, BBC reports.

Saturday's search was attended by a forensic expert appointed by the family alongside Orlandi's sister, Federica.

"It was intense, thinking those could be the bones of my sister," she told CBS News.

The unsolved case has been plagued by speculation and conspiracy theories. Sex rings, the CIA, the KGB and assassination plots have all been considered in the quest to solve the 36-year-mystery.

Over the years, demonstrators have continued to demand closure and the Orlandi family has not given up on their search for answers.

The Vatican said it is not possible to predict how long it will take to formally identify the DNA of the bones, although their analysis will continue next Saturday.

Newshub / CBS News.