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14 July, 2024
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Divers fail to locate Maricar

Investigators in search of third body at the red lake leave empty handed


Divers failed on Monday to locate a third body at the red lake, believed to be a Filipina domestic worker who went missing in December 2017.

(Click here for an update to the story)

Police investigating the serial killer case in Cyprus believe a body belonging to 30-year-old Maricar Valdez Arquiola from the Philippines, who went missing on 13 December 2017, is still underwater.

A diver in search of a suitcase believed to hold Maricar’s remains dived to a specific location to check an unknown object, which ended up being an underwater rock. Officials said the search will resume on Tuesday at a new spot.

The confession of Maricar’s murder in late April was crucial to unraveling the serial killer case where foreign women who were reported missing ended up murdered

Confessed serial killer Nikos Metaxas, a 35-year-old Greek Cypriot army captain also known online as Orestis, reportedly confessed to killing Maricar after authorities charged him last month with murder intent, despite not having found her body. He said he dumped Maricar’s body and two others in the red lake, across from an abandoned mine shaft in Nicosia district.

The confession of Maricar’s murder in late April was crucial to unraveling the serial killer case of foreign women who were reported missing. The suspect had previously admitted to the murders of two Filipinas but denied killing more women according to reports. But police discovered what they described in court as incontrovertible evidence linking Metaxas to Maricar’s disappearance, using the suspect’s phone data and digital files connected to his Orestis profile. Investigators ended up pressing charges and getting a confession out of him in the murders of seven women including two children, while the possibility of more victims has not been ruled out.

Two other bodies have been retrieved from the red lake, believed to be 36-year-old Romanian national Livia Florentina Bunea and her 8-year-old daughter Elena Natalia Bunea, both of whom were last seen in September 2016. DNA tests are expected to confirm that missing mother and child were indeed the bodies decomposing next to each other in the watery grave since 2016.

The identification of another body believed to be 30-year-old Asmita Khadka Bista from Nepal is also pending DNA tests, after human remains were discovered in a remote location in rural Nicosia. Asmita went missing in July 2018, weeks after the disappearances of two Filipinas, 38-year-old Marry Rose Tiburcio and 28-year-old Αrian Palanas Lozano. Their bodies were discovered last month right across from the lake, inside an old and abandoned flooded mine shaft last month.

Marry Rose’s daughter, 6-year-old Sierra Graze Seucalliuc, is still missing. Orestis claimed that he dumped the little girl in Memi lake, about eight miles west of Mitseros, but divers so far have failed to locating anything.

Police have come under heavy criticism over the handling of missing foreign women cases, after it emerged that several crucial bits of information offered by friends and next of kin were either not followed up or not taken seriously.

Cyprus  |  Philippines  |  Filipina  |  Maricar  |  red lake  |  Mitseros  |  serial killer  |  Metaxas  |  Orestis  |  police  |  domestic worker  |  Asian  |  army

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