Cypriot police are searching for the body of a six-year-old girl after the island’s ‘first serial killer’ allegedly confessed to murdering her mother and five other females.
The 35-year-old Greek army officer – named locally as Nicos Metaxas – showed investigators where he had dumped a body in a well near an army firing range outside Nicosia, on Thursday.
Earlier police sources said he confessed to killing five women and two girls. All but one of the women was of Asian descent and he met at least two on dating websites.
A vigil was held last night where people questioned the authorities over misogyny and racism, claiming they failed to properly investigate the missing women.
The Greek army captain named locally as Nicos Metaxas, 35, posing for a selfie in this undated photo
Mary Rose Tiburcio, 38 (left) was discovered on April 14 at a mine-shaft, while her six-year-old daughter Sierra is feared to also be dead
Maricar Valtez Arquiola, 31 (left) and Arian Palanos Lozano, 28, (right) – have been named by Cypriot media as victims
Cypriot media say the soldier is also suspected of killing Romanian mother Livia Florentina Bunea, 36, (left) and her eight-year-old daughter Elena Natalia (right) who went missing in 2016
Protesters hold banners and candles as they demonstrate in support of the victims of a suspected serial killer in front of the presidential palace in Nicosia on Friday
The discovery of Filipino woman Mary Rose Tiburcio, 38, in an abandoned mine-shaft on April 14 triggered the investigation which led to the captain’s arrest.
Tiburcio and her six-year-old daughter had been missing since May of last year.
Investigators zeroed in on the captain as a suspect and arrested him after scouring Tiburcio’s online messages.
While investigating her death and searching for Tiburcio’s daughter, police found another body in the flooded mine-shaft 20 miles west of the capital, Nicosia.
Cypriot media have identified the victim as 28-year-old Arian Palanas Lozano, also from the Philippines.
One victim’s naked body was bound and wrapped in white sheet in the mine-shaft, Neos Kosmos reported.
The army officer suspect named locally as Nicos Metaxas, 35
On Thursday, the suspect told them while under questioning about four more victims and gave directions to a military firing range.
The body of a woman, who according to the suspect was of Nepalese or Indian descent, was found buried there.
From the suspect’s statements and information from the investigation, Cypriot police think the other three victims they know about so far are a 31-year-old Filipino woman who has been missing since December 2017, Maricar Valtez Arquiola, and a Romanian mother and daughter.
Cypriot media identified the mother as Livia Florentina Bunea, 36, and her eight-year-old daughter as Elena Natalia Bunea. The two are believed to have been missing since September 2016.
The suspect reportedly met at least two of the women on dating website Badoo.
Cyprus police later told a court that the soldier had admitted to strangling one of the victim’s after having sex with her.
On Friday it was revealed five British law enforcement officials – including a coroner, a psychiatrist and investigators who specialise in multiple homicides – were coming to Cyprus to help with the investigation.
A police truck, rear left, carries a body found after Cypriot investigators and police officers searched at a field outside of Orounta village, near the capital Nicosia on Thursday
A diver is pictured entering a manmade lake to search for bodies in the village of Xiliatos, outside of the capital Nicosia
Firefighters and investigators are pictured searching the lake. A sole diver connected to an air hose was also sent in, descending into the deep emerald-green waters filling the crater
Firefighters and investigators search the manmade lake near the village of Xiliato for the remains of more victims outside Nicosia on Friday
Hundreds of people turned up for a protest vigil outside Cyprus’ presidential palace on Friday to mourn and to question if authorities failed to adequately investigate when foreign workers were reported missing.
The protest’s organiser used a bullhorn to read out the victims’ names as well as those of other missing women, and others at the memorial shouted ‘Where are they?’ in response.
Some participants held placards decrying ‘sexist, misogynist and racist’ attitudes about women who work as housekeepers or in low-paying service jobs.
In a poignant moment, a group of tearful Filipino women held lighted candles and bowed their heads in prayer for the three women and one child of Filipino descent who are believed to be among the victims.
President Nicos Anastasiades said Friday that he shared the public’s revulsion at ‘murders that appear to have selectively targeted foreign women who are in our country to work.’
A solemn protest was held outside the gates of the presidential palace in Nicosia on Friday
Protesters hold banners as they demonstrate in support of the victims of a suspected serial killer in front of the presidential palace in Nicosia on Friday
Investigators were seen diving down into the manmade lake on Friday in the search for suspected victims
Cyprus police intensified their searches today for more victims at locations where an army officer, who authorities say killed five women and two girls, had dumped their bodies
Cypriot police are pictured guarding the search site with a cordon. The case came to light after a German tourist taking photographs of the mine spotted the first body
‘Such instincts are contrary to our culture’s traditions and values,’ Anastasiades said in a statement from China, where he was on an official visit.
Cyprus police have faced criticism from immigrant rights activists who said they didn’t act quickly enough to locate the victims. The country has 80 unsolved missing person cases, going back to 1990.
Police chief Zacharias Chrysostomou said a three-member panel has been assigned to review whether officers followed correct protocols in their handling of recent cases.
Police in Cyprus are pictured searching a mine in Mitsero village, near the capital Nicosia. The mines-turned-lakes are swollen after record rainfall in Cyprus this winter
Since April 14, the police have recovered three bodies, all Filipina domestic workers. The stepped-up search at the lakes – water-filled craters of former mines now normally used as picnic sites. A mine in Mitsero village that authorities are searching is pictured above
As the president spoke, investigators intensified the search for bodies of victims at the firing range, a reservoir and a man-made lake near the abandoned copper pyrite mine.
On Friday, police spokesman Andreas Angelides again defended how the force dealt with missing person reports.
He said investigations would have been more effective if lawmakers had taken the department’s recommendation to give law enforcement agencies legal authority to access a missing person’s personal data, telephone records and emails.