"The last thing I expected was to find empty tombs", said her brother Pietro Orlandi, 60, who has never stopped hoping to find his sister alive.
The tombs belonged to two princesses, buried in 1836 and 1840.
The mystery surrounding the disappearance of an Italian teenager 36 years ago deepened Thursday after two graves at the Vatican thought to possibly hold her remains were discovered to be empty.
The Orlandi family later received an anonymous letter saying Emanuela's body might be hidden among the dead in the Teutonic cemetery where a statue of an angel holding a book reads "requiescat in pace", Latin for "rest in peace".
This picture taken on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 shows the view of the Teutonic Cemetery inside the Vatican. After persistent rumors that her body was concealed in the grave of a Roman mobster, police opened his tomb in 2012. The siblings' father worked as a messenger for the Vatican, and the family lived in Vatican City State. Then the stone lid of an adjacent sarcophagus of Princess Charlotte Federica di Mecklenburg was removed and inside "no human remains were found", the Vatican said.
Last year, two set of remains were found during renovations in the basement of a building on the grounds of the Vatican's embassy in Rome.
It added that relatives of the two princesses were informed that the tombs of their loved ones were empty.
"The result of the search was negative".
Emanuela's mother still lives within Vatican City. As in, they didn't find the remains of Emanuela, but nor did they find the remains of either princess. Because the family lived inside the Vatican walls, numerous rumors involve the Vatican itself: that she was murdered in connection to the Vatican bank scandals of the 1980s; that she was kidnapped to barter for the freedom of a man who attempted to kill Pope John Paul II; that she was kidnapped as part of a sex slavery ring inside the Vatican.
"We're frankly astonished", said Laura Sgro, the Orlandi family lawyer.
"The DNA test will be done in any case, in order to be certain and to exclude definitively and categorically the chance that any remains in the two tombs are attributable to poor Emanuela", he said.
"Much depends on the environmental conditions, on the microclimate in which they are found, on the humidity, on the presence of infiltrations, on possible actions of microfauna", he said.
"Documentary checks are underway on the structural interventions that took place in the area.in a first phase at the end of the 19th century, and in a second more recent phase between the 60s and 70s of the last century", the Vatican said.