Another suicide case has been reopened in the Republic of Cyprus, this time concerning the death of a special police officer, whose family has disputed the findings with the help of a private forensic pathologist.
Local media said the death of special officer Marios Erodotou has resurfaced after his family disputed state findings that had pointed to suicide.
Erodotou was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head on 19 May 2020 in Paphos, with a state medical examiner pointing to suicidal injury on the death certificate.
But last month, following an appeal filed by Erodotou’s family through a lawyer, a district court judge ruled that suicide did not meet a reasonable degree of certainty.
A lack of fingerprints, photographic inconsistencies, and ballistic information raised doubts in the case
According to PafosNet, the family lawyer argued that a proper investigation into the death of Erodotou had not taken place, highlighting a lack of fingerprints on the firearm or in the material evidence associated with the case.
There were also references to photographic inconsistencies as well as ballistic information that raised doubts as to the operability of the firearm found at the scene.
After hearing arguments from both sides, including state witnesses and family members, the judge on September 9 ordered that the case be reopened and the file be handed back to the attorney general’s office for further study.
Cypriot authorities have been on the receiving end of criticism in similar cold cases after families of victims, who disputed the official narratives, got private help to probe into the deaths of their loved ones.
Long list of cold cases
An investigation into the death of an Australian-Cypriot soldier back in 2005 is still ongoing, after the family proved their son was a victim of homicide.
Private forensic pathologist Marios Matsakis, who regularly weighs in on cold cases, recently described investigations on the island as being part of “slipshod situation.”
Matsakis, who also served as MEP, pointed to a long list of “terrible mistakes,” including the Strovolos double murder in April 2018 where a drug addict, who initially said he had been framed, later pleaded guilty and is currently in prison for life.
The local expert also included on his list the death of a Greek woman, Christina Kalaitzidis, who was found dead in March 2012 in her apartment. Her death was initially ruled as accidental due to smoke inhalation. But after demands from her father, specialized testing in London showed his daughter had been strangled to death by her husband, who was known to local police for spousal abuse.
MP Irene Charalambides, who pushed for a recently-implemented whistleblower law in Cyprus, said despite “criminal errors, there are no follow-up disciplinary probes and nobody pays in the end.”
“Mr. Kalaitsidis lost a child and went through hell to get justice. He spent all his money all these years to prove that his child was murdered,” Charalambides said, adding that the father was now “unable to see through the legal proceedings because the financial burden was too much to bear.”
Last year another case made headlines after a crime TV show in Athens aired an episode about the death of a Greek commissioned officer in Cyprus in October 2020.
The family has been arguing that CID Limassol had failed to properly investigate their son’s death, initially ruled a suicide, with more evidence, including no fingerprints on an army knife, pointing to homicide.