Pope Francis had a secretary, or receptionist, at the Domus Santa Marta where the pope lives. He saw her every time he checked into his home at the Vatican, but now the pope will not see the young and pregnant woman as she suddenly died without warning and no one is yet sure why.
The Vatican has asked for a complete autopsy and thorough investigation after 34-year-old Miriam Wuolou of Eritrea was found dead in her own apartment in the Pisana suburb of Rome, according to The Daily Beast. Her brother became concerned when he could not contact her for several days, so he alerted authorities that he could not reach her by phone. Military police went to her apartment, forced open her door, and found the pope secretary in an advanced state of decomposition.
The woman was seven months pregnant at the time of her death, and her medical records indicated that she had diabetes. Even though diabetes during pregnancy can be fatal if left untreated, police and the Vatican aren’t buying the idea that the secretary of the pope let her condition go untreated.
Wuolou was found clothed, and no obvious signs of violence were discovered.
The body will undergo toxicology tests in addition to the autopsy.
According to The New York Post, the pope’s secretary had an ex-husband who was interviewed by police. She also has a boyfriend who works as a policeman employed by the Vatican. That man and her brother were also interviewed.
The apartment of the woman who knew the pope was sealed off, and items were marked and removed from the place to be examined. Neighbors of the secretary of the pope have been watching the scene with interest and shock.
The DNA of the unborn baby will be used to determine the paternity of the child.
Police sources claim the woman may have been married to her ex-husband out of convenience in order to get Italian citizenship and never lived with the man. Whether this is the case or not, the ex-husband and others being questioned in the case are banned from talking to reporters, as they are persons of interest.
The woman who worked for the pope used to hand him his messages and the key to his room nearly every day. She was a familiar face to Pope Francis. She had taken a sick leave for about a week when her death occurred, so the pope may have not been immediately alarmed when she did not show up for work to continue her duties for the pope and others at the small hotel where the pope lives.
Pope Francis is said to be very upset over her death, even though the Vatican has not commented on the case or how the pope feels. On Saturday, a funeral service for the secretary so well known to the pope was held on Saturday. Pope Francis spent time with her body before the memorial. The pope placed a dozen white roses next to her casket and scattered holy water on the coffin followed by a 20-minute prayer.
The pope has previously said the people who work inside Santa Marta are his family. After one woman who worked at Santa Marta died last month after a long illness, the pope said, “This group of men and women are part of our family. They form a family, they are not just employees.”
[Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images]