The Vatican has for the first time opened its own investigation into the case of Emanuela Orlandi, a 15-year-old Vatican citizen who disappeared in the summer of 1983.

The Orlandi family's lawyer, Laura Sgrò, confirmed the probe on Wednesday. She told The Associated Press that "the Secretariat of State has authorized the opening of an investigation into a grave in the Teutonic Cemetery inside the Vatican," after an anonymous tipster indicated that people should look where a statue of an angel in the cemetery is pointing.

The Vatican said on March 27 it was handling a request from the Orlandi family to reopen a tomb indicated by the angel.

Interim Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said on Wednesday that "at the moment, I don't have any statement to make on the issue."