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26 May, 2024
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Larnaca abductor says he did it for money

Police revisit ransom scenario despite lack of evidence


Crime investigators are revisiting the ransom scenario in the Larnaca abduction of two school boys, with the suspect claiming he did it for money despite lack of evidence pointing in that direction.

(Click here for an update to the story)

Yiorgos “George” Nicolaou, a 35-year-old web designer from Nicosia, is currently the sole suspect in the case where two 11-year-olds were kidnapped Tuesday morning from Larnaca’s Kamares public elementary school.

Video footage showed Nicolaou - known in the media as the "Larnaca abductor" - coaxing the two boys into following him to his apartment near the school. Earlier reports said the suspect forced the two boys into his car, but later it emerged they had walked on foot to get to his place, about a kilometre away from school.

Police said there had been no demands whatsoever during the nearly right hours of the boys’ disappearance

About 45 minutes following the kidnapping, the school notified police who immediately went on high alert, setting up road blocks and flying helicopters in a massive search effort to locate the suspect and two boys. A message also went out to the public, asking for help locating the suspect with a member of a local neighbourhood watch programme connecting the dots and calling police.

When police arrived at the apartment, the suspect reportedly questioned why they were knocking on his door since the description of a suspect referred to an older male. But when they realised they were at the right place, they detained the man who reportedly did not resist arrest. The boys were found in another room lying in bed, drugged and unaware of their surroundings, with one of them reportedly mumbling a few words.

Nicolaou, who was remanded for eight days, admitted to the kidnapping telling a Larnaca on Wednesday he was in financial trouble and planned to ask for ransom. Knews understands he had made similar statements to police during his arrest, according to local media reports.

But police previously said there had been no demands whatsoever during the nearly right hours of the boys’ disappearance. Investigators were also waiting for telecommunications data for possible evidence while a number of computers in the apartment have also been confiscated.

In the meantime, more statements came to light on Wednesday from other witnesses pointing to previous incidents where the suspect had allegedly approached young boys.

No signs of physical injuries

Nicolaou is currently facing multiple charges including kidnapping, abduction intended for false imprisonment, public intoxication, and wrongful imprisonment.

The two boys, who were taken to Larnaca General Hospital following their release from capture, were said to be in good health. Police Chief Zacharias Chrysostomou said the suspect did not have physically abuse the children, citing results from medical tests.

No other suspects have been named in the case as police carry on with the investigation.

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