Emanuela's father was a Vatican employee, and speculation regarding her disappearance and hypothetical ties with the Vatican have been rife for 36 years.
The mystery of her disappearance has gripped Italy ever since.
Not only was Emanuela Orlandi's body not found, the tombs did not even hold the skeletons of the two princesses supposed to be buried there.
The brother of long-missing Emanuela Orlandi, Pietro, attended the exhumation of two Vatican graves on Thursday as local officials searched for any trace of his sister.
Last year, bones found during ground work at the Vatican embassy in Rome sparked a media frenzy suggesting they might belong to Orlandi or to Mirella Gregori, another teenager who disappeared the same year.
A February 13, 2013 file photo shows the Teutonic Cemetery in the courtyard of the Collegio Teutonico, as seen from atop St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.
Speaking to reporters outside Vatican City, Pietro Orlandi said he had not expected to find the tombs completely empty and again called on anyone who knows the truth about his sister to come forward. "Subsequently, the opening of the second tomb-sarcophagus took place, that of Princess Carlotta Federica of Mecklemburg".
Prior to this morning's work, Vatican officials had said that DNA tests were to be carried out on the bones found and the results would be known in a number of weeks.
"The tombs are empty".
Vatican opened graves of two princesses in search for missing girl..
Orlandi's mother still lives in Vatican City, close to the Teutonic Cemetery. As in, they didn't find the remains of Emanuela, but nor did they find the remains of either princess.
Giovanni Arcudi is a leading expert in forensic anthropology and professor of forensic medicine at Rome's Tor Vergata University. Scientific testing ruled out that the remains were Orlandi's. Conspiracy theories have abounded, including perhaps she was kidnapped as a part of a failed bid for the release of the Turkish gunman who shot and severely wounded Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Square in 1981. 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.
Once the tombs are opened the remains inside will be inventoried and catalogued before tests are conducted on the age of the remains and their DNA. They found nothing that didn't belong there.
Cryptic letter: Last summer, the family received a letter saying, "If you want to find Emanuela, search where the angel looks", reports NBC News.
"We're frankly astonished", said Laura Sgro, the Orlandi family lawyer. Last week a Vatican tribunal granted the request.
The opening of two tombs at the Teutonic Cemetery in relation to the investigations into the case of Emanuela Orlandi, Vatican City.