Israeli experts and divers are expected to join the search efforts for two slain victims in the serial killer case, as prosecutors prepare to file their case in court.
(Click here for an update to the story)
After more than a month of searching in the Red Lake in Mitseros and Memi Lake in Xiliatos, an Israeli team of experts is expected to join the efforts according to local media. Reports said the team will bring special equipment but no further details were made available.
Divers have been searching for the body of 30-year-old Maricar Valdez Arquiola and 6-year-old Sierra Graze Seucalliuc, both from the Philippines, who are believed to be in their watery graves in rural Nicosia according to confessed serial killer Nikos Metaxas.
Authorities did not apprehend the primary suspect until Orestis is believed to have had enough time to destroy crucial evidence
The suspect, a 35-year-old Greek Cypriot army captain also known as Orestis, appeared in court on Tuesday, where a judge ordered him to remain in custody for another eight days. Prosecutors are said to be preparing to file eight separate cases against Orestis, including seven counts of murder and one rape.
The alleged serial killer is expected to remain incarcerated throughout the process as he goes straight to trial, with media sources saying all seven murder cases could be lumped into one while it was unclear whether the rape case would go forward at the initial stages.
The case shocked public opinion last month, when the bodies of two adult Filipinas who had been reported missing were discovered in an abandoned mine shaft in Mitseros, rural Nicosia. Police have been criticized for not taking the missing cases seriously, following revelations that officers ignored information that could have led to the apprehension of the suspect and possibly prevent some of the murders.
Orestis is believed to have destroyed crucial evidence on the day his alias accidently came up in court, during the remand hearing of an initial suspect who was the former partner of one of the victims and the father of their 6-year-old child. Authorities did not get to the main suspect until one day later, after what officials believe to have been the time that Orestis destroyed a mobile phone with incriminating evidence.
A young Filipina and aspiring model, who has come forward with the rape allegations against Orestis, told investigators he had raped her inside his vehicle and recorded video of the incident on his phone. Orestis, whom the young model had known only by his real name, reportedly denies the rape allegations.
Prosecutors met at the Legal Services department on Monday to coordinate the next steps in what is expected to be an unprecedented court case.
- 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)