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25 May, 2024
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More work needed in serial killer probe

Calls for more depositions in probe over police mishandling foreign women’s disappearances


More statements described as “necessary” and some changes are being sought in the serial killer probe, which has identified so far two dozen officers for failing to do their job in handling cases of missing women and children who were later found murdered in Cyprus.

According to daily Phileleftheros, the head of the Independent Authority for the Investigation of Allegations and Complaints Against the Police, Andreas Paschalides, has consulted with members on his special committee and it was decided that additional work was needed.

Paschalides, a former judge, has called for additional depositions before handing over the probe to the attorney general’s office, according to the report. It was not immediately clear whether the persons of interest were members of law enforcement.

Previous reports said the 450-page report listed names of 23 law enforcement officials serving at different levels, primarily police officers at Criminal Investigation Departments, including supervisors in those offices as well as administrative officers who oversaw the handling or closing of missing cases and did not intervene.

The investigation reportedly showed that in some cases police had not even bothered to check if the missing women’s phones had been working

The authors of the report said they found “tragic mistakes” during the course of investigations into complaints of missing women, who were later found murdered. Convicted serial killer Nikos Metaxas, a Greek Cypriot army captain and skilled photographer also known online as Orestis, was sentenced to life in prison in five cases on a total of seven counts of murder, five adult women and two young children.

The investigation reportedly showed that in some cases police had not even bothered to check to see if the missing women’s phones had been working. In other cases, officers allegedly dismissed disappearance concerns while claiming that the women had left Cyprus through the north.

Seven officers listed in the report were reportedly serving at Larnaca district headquarters, while both officers as well as their superiors are named in the report.

The individuals could face criminal and disciplinary charges, while Phileleftheros reported the names of two to three individuals have been removed from the category of criminal prosecution.

It was not clear if more police officers or other individuals would be added to the list following the additional depositions that are currently being sought.

Following the completion of the report, Attorney General Costas Clerides will receive all the documents and determine whether criminal or disciplinary offences have been committed. Based on the Constitution, only the attorney general can order a criminal prosecution of the officers named in the probe.

The victims were 38-year-old Marry Rose Tiburcio from the Philippines, whose body was found in an abandoned mineshaft in rural Nicosia, and her daughter, 6-year-old Sierra Graze Seucalliuc whose boody was tossed into a nearby lake. The body of Αrian Palanas Lozano, 28 years old also from the Philippines was found along with Marry Rose, while another Filipina, 30-year-old Maricar Valdez Arquiola, was found in a red lake near the mineshaft inside a suitcase.

Two others were found in suitcases in the same red lake, Romanian mother Livia Florentina Bunea, 36, and her 8-year-old daughter Elena Natalia Bunea. All six victims died of strangulation while another woman from Nepal, 30-year-old Asmita Khadka Bista, died of head trauma and parts of her body were found in a remote pit on a military firing range also in rural Nicosia.

Metaxas was sentenced to life in prison without a trial after he pleaded guilty to all murder charges. He was facing charges of premeditated murder, kidnapping, abduction with murder intent, evidence tampering, and hindering an investigation.

Cyprus  |  Orestis  |  Metaxas  |  serial killer  |  police  |  Philippines  |  Romania  |  Nepal  |  Greek  |  Cypriot

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