The seven-months pregnant secretary of Roman Catholic Church leader Pope Francis was reportedly found dead at her apartment in Rome, with the Vatican calling on police to investigate the matter.
“Pope Francis had been informed of the death. We are all pained by this
news,” said Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi. The Mirror noted that 34-year-old Miriam Wuolou, who is of Eritrean origin, had worked for years at the Santa Marta guesthouse, where the pontiff lives.
Francis had opted to live at the more humble guesthouse instead of the lavish papal apartments when he was chosen as Pope back
Italian press noted that Wuolou suffered from a serious kind of diabetes, which doctors had warned could put her pregnancy at risk, but it is not yet known if that is related to her death.
The secretary is believed to have missed several weeks of work due to her condition.
She was found dead at her apartment last Friday by her brother who came
to see her.
The ANSA news agency reported that prosecutors have ordered an
autopsy to be carried out on Wuolou’s body, as there were no signs of physical violence discovered at her Rome apartment.
“A DNA test will also be carried out on the fetus. Wuolou’s body was found by Carabinieri police at her flat in the Pisana area south of Rome after her brother raised the alarm. It allegedly presented no signs of violence,” the report stated.
The Vatican will reportedly be following the case closely, but officials are not expected to be directly involved in the investigations.
The Vatican News website is also yet to report on Wuolou’s death.
Italian newspaper il Messaggero reported that police suspect it could have been a case of neglect, and have interviewed family members, her ex-husband from whom she was separated, and most recent boyfriend, who is believed to be a policeman who works at the Vatican.
Catholic Culture suggested that questions have been raised about her ex- husband, who did not live with her, and whether “their union was arranged simply to enable her to become a citizen.” DNA tests are also set to be carried out on the fetus, with investigators seeking to confirm the paternity of her unborn child.