A cement block retrieved from the red lake on Tuesday is believed to be connected to one of the suitcases in the serial killer case.
(Click here for an update to the story)
Divers pulled out of the water a cement block which was discovered 13 metres underneath the surface at the Red Lake in Mitseros, rural Nicosia. Police believe the latest find is connected with a suitcase and could be linked to 30-year-old Maricar Valdez Arquiola, a Filipina who went missing in December 2017.
'It is absolutely linked with a suitcase and this allows us to have some optimism as we continue the search'
Alleged serial killer Nikos Metaxas, who is in custody on seven counts of murder and one rape, admitted seven murders and said he dumped three bodies in suitcases at the red lake, including Maricar. Two bodies have already been found in suitcases at the red lake, 36-year-old Livia Florentina Bunea from Romania and a child believed to be her 8-year-old daughter Elena Natalia. A second autopsy last week suggested Livia was choked to death, while a second autopsy on Tuesday on the little girl failed to reach a conclusion as to the cause of death. Tissue samples from the child were sent to the lab for further testing.
A discovery of a cement block last week was said not to be connected to the case, while investigators appeared to be confident that the cement block found on Tuesday, which had a rope through a hole, could lead to the third suitcase and Maricar’s body. Reports said the 35-year-old suspect, also known as Orestis, corroborated information last week as to the exact location where he obtained the cement blocks and told cops he used rope to tie them to the suitcases.
Fire Department Chief Marcos Trangolas, who is overseeing the recovery operation, said search efforts on Wednesday will focus in the area where the cement block was found.
“It is absolutely linked with one of the three suitcases and specifically with one suitcase and this is what allows us to have some optimism as we continue the search,” he said.
Three other slain women have been recovered in the case over the course of one month, while Maricar and the child of one of the other victims are still missing and presumed dead.
All victims were foreign females, five women and two children, while police reportedly have reasons to suspect Orestis may be hiding more bodies. However, officials over the weekend said they found no new information to suggest more victims in the case.
Critics pointed to possible evidence tampering by Orestis, who is believed to have had a whole day to get rid of evidence, including a phone. He allegedly used the phone to videotape a rape inside his vehicle. According to a young Filipina, a 21-year-old aspiring model, Orestis raped her in early 2017 while the suspect denies the allegations.
Experts from Scotland Yard, who were called to assist local cops with the investigation, reportedly alerted police to a crucial one day gap between the time a wrong suspect was remanded in custody and Orestis’ arrest a day later. Officials believe at least a phone was most certainly destroyed while other incriminating evidence may also have disappeared forever.
- Marry Rose Tiburcio, 38, Philippines (DNA confirmed)
- Sierra Graze Seucalliuc, 6, Philippines (missing, feared dead)
- Αrian Palanas Lozano, 28, Philippines (DNA confirmed)
- Maricar Valdez Arquiola, 30, Philippines (missing, presumed dead)
- Livia Florentina Bunea, 36, Romania (body identified)
- Elena Natalia Bunea, 8, Romania (body found)
- Asmita Khadka Bista, 30, Nepal (DNA pending)