New details have emerged in the Larnaca sibling murder, with reports saying the boy who killed his sister was hyperactive but not violent while neighbours who heard the initial screams had become complacent due to frequent yelling and fights.
The father of nine-year-old Maria, who was stabbed to death by her 13-year-old brother, was heard saying that he lost both of his kids as he exited the police station in Larnaca.
“I lost both of my kids. How am I supposed to live now?” he also muttered in front of reporters who went to talk to him on Wednesday.
A day earlier, on Tuesday, first responders got an emergency call around 5pm and rushed to the man’s house in Agios Ioannis, downtown Larnaca, where they found little Maria in a pool of blood.
The young girl had been stabbed multiple times by her brother, during what authorities believe was a sibling fight. The father was not at home at the time of the incident but arrived 40 minutes later, at which point authorities were notified.
Maria was calling for help but nobody went to her
An elderly woman who lives across the street told investigators she had heard the initial screams but did not go out to check on the girl.
“I saw her trying to grab the rail on the porch. She was calling for help. Then I saw her fall. I’m almost incapable of walking. I went back inside,” the senior citizen said according to police.
'I saw her trying to grab the rail on the porch. She was calling for help. Then I saw her fall. I’m almost incapable of walking. I went back inside'
It later turned out that Maria had been stabbed just moments earlier and then kept screaming for help, but nobody had rushed to her aid.
Neighbours said the siblings were fighting constantly but initial reports that the boy was violent were later refuted by officials who were familiar with the family’s situation.
“We knew he had intense stress and would often have outbursts but then he would suddenly calm down,” his dad told daily Phileleftheros.
The father also said the boy was under evaluation for over five months but never received treatment for his hyperactivity condition.
“I even believe that they might have thought all this wasn’t real and that we were simply ‘acting’ so that we could get more social welfare benefits and then kick back and relax at home without having to go to work,” he added.
The father also said the murder weapon was a kitchen knife that he kept with other knives on the kitchen countertop, and he would used them often for preparing family meals.
The tragic incident has sparked debate with state officials and members of the public calling for better programmes aimed at helping families with children that need special attention.
Cyprus has no juvenile delinquency programme
Child Commissioner Leda Koursoumba said a plan to create a juvenile delinquency programme and detention facilities for minors has remained in the works for several years, with proposed legislation still pending in the Legal Services department. She also criticised the decision by officials to keep the boy at Athalassa mental hospital, saying this was in no way an appropriate step. Police said they had nowhere else to take the boy, who could not be arrested due to his young age.
The victim was born in Cyprus while the boy had moved to the island when he was very young. Their parents were divorced, with the mother visiting them frequently according to neighbours.
The 44-year-old dad used to work in construction but he has been unemployed for some time. He would often go out to look for odd jobs to support his family which meant his kids were left alone, according to media reports.
Little Maria will be buried in a white dress, as per the family’s wishes, following the funeral service on Friday at 2pm at the local Agios Ioannis chapel.