Firstly, I AM IN NO WAY AN EXPERT on this case, so take my personal speculation with a grain of salt. I do not have one theory that I subscribe to completely, but there are some that I believe more than others.
For example, I do not buy into the theory that she was just a runaway. There were witnesses that said she had runaway, but each of those witnesses said she would be home in a few months. Unfortunately she never did. Maybe she had planned to, but was kidnapped? Or maybe she did not want to go home anymore? Or maybe the witnesses were lying about the whole thing?
Theories about church involvement in the disappearance have me conflicted. On one hand, it may just have been some random perpetrator, clergy or otherwise, who was not a part of a larger conspiracy and the popes’ strange statements are just well-intentioned mistakes. On the other hand, John Paul the 2nd and Pope Francis’ behavior has me wondering if the Vatican knew more than they said. In the backdrop of all of this is the Catholic Church’s history of covering up sexual abuse by clergy, which fuels the possiblility that Emanuela may have been kidnapped or harmed by someone in the church.
I don’t fully trust the theory that the extremist group, the Grey Wolves, kidnapped Emanuela because the group’s involvement in the assassination attempt of John Paul the 2nd was never confirmed. Although, if they did coordinate the assassination then I would take their claims about Emanuela more seriously. Now, I do not completely dismiss the idea that someone was holding Emanuela for the release of Mehmet Ali Agca–investigators took it quite seriously and there seemed to be quite a lot of content in the calls made to the Orlandi house–I just have little media experience with extremist groups, so I am not sure how much I can trust their claims.
Overall, I am partial to the idea that Emanuela was kidnapped in some way and that the man she spoke to outside the Italian Senate was most likely involved in said kidnapping. I understand my biases about the Vatican’s involvement, events in the past have made me reasonably skeptical. But because I have more knowledge and connections with the Vatican, I favor this theory over the Grey Wolves theory, which is something I have no experience with.
Though controversial, if the case gets the right leadership and dedication, I think it has a chance of getting solved in my lifetime and for the Orlandi family to have justice for their daughter.