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28° Nicosia,
22 August, 2019
 
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Orestis back in court

Crucial autopsy takes place Monday as serial killer investigation continues

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A month has gone by with police still searching for two more slain victims of an alleged serial killer, while a crucial autopsy on Monday is expected to show the cause of death of eight-year-old Elena Natalia.

(Murder description below – viewer discretion is advised)

A team of forensic pathologists are scheduled to carry out the post mortem on a body believed to be Elena Natalia Bunea, a Romanian girl whose decomposed body was retrieved earlier this month from the red lake in rural Nicosia. Her mother, 36-year-old Romanian national Livia Florentina Bunea, was also found dead last month, with both victims dumped inside suitcases in the same lake. The mother and child went missing in September 2016, while a suspect in custody, 35-year-old Nikos Metaxas also known as Orestis, reportedly admitted to killing them both along with four women and another child, all foreign nationals.

According to media reports, four Greek Cypriot pathologists were expected to take part in the autopsy, including London-based pediatric pathologist Andreas Marnerides who will join local forensic pathologists Angeliki Papetta, Nicholas Charalambous, and Sofocles Sofocleous. Marnerides also took part in the post mortem of Elena’s mother, whose official cause of death was reported ten days ago as strangulation.

Metaxas’ ex-wife reportedly confirmed that she had communication with the young aspiring model, who confided in her that Orestis had raped her

Officials believe the suspect murdered most of his victims by putting them in a headlock and blocking their airway, while one of the victims was said to have died after being struck in the head. Asmita Khadka Bista, a 30-year-old Nepalese woman believed to have been in search of a new job during her work visa grace period, went missing in July 2018. Orestis, who led investigators to her body in rural Nicosia, reportedly confessed to killing a woman from Nepal or India inside his vehicle. Police believe the recovered body belonged to the Nepalese woman but there has been no official confirmation yet.

At least some of the murders are believed to be linked to sexual acts, with the suspect reportedly admitting earlier that he “had a thing for Filipinas.” He reportedly also said he got pleasure from causing the death of women during sexual intercourse. Following at least two autopsies of his adult victims, forensic pathologists said Orestis grabbed his victims from behind and put them in a chokehold, blocking their airway and causing them to die within minutes.

New remand as police contact Interpol

The suspect, who appeared in court on Monday, remains in custody facing seven counts of murder and a rape charge, after a 21-year-old Filipina accused him of rape back in 2017. He reportedly denies raping the woman, saying it was consensual sex. The accuser says he videotaped the incident while it was not clear in the previous remand hearing whether the digital file was among those recovered by police.

The judge ordered Orestis to be remanded for eight more days, while the court heard that investigators were in contact with Interpol regarding the ongoing investigation. 

Metaxas’ ex-wife reportedly confirmed that she had communication with the young aspiring model, who confided in her at the time that the ex-husband had raped her. It is understood that the suspect and the accuser were acquaintances but the girl said she had no idea that Metaxas was behind the Orestis profile online. She told investigators that she had discussions about photography with a man named Orestis while she never imagined that Metaxas and Orestis were one and the same.

Last month, local media unearthed a peculiar piece of the puzzle in connection with the rape story, where it turned out that the suspected serial killer had preemptively filed a complaint against the woman on 28 February 2017, alleging that he was receiving rape accusation threats from “a former girlfriend” who was seeking revenge.

No follow up

The suspect said in a written statement that the two had consensual sex and he simply wanted to alert police in case the woman attempted to accuse him of rape. The young woman did not contact the police at the time, while the suspect reportedly gave police the name and phone number of the aspiring model. It is understood that she was never contacted by authorities either for a courtesy call or a follow up.

The young woman reportedly came forward after the horrific serial killer case began to unravel, following the discovery of the bodies of two missing Filipinas inside an abandoned and flooded mine shaft in Mitseros, rural Nicosia. Another adult Filipina is believed to be underwater at the red lake, right across from the mine shaft, while the young daughter of one of the victims is still missing and believed to have been dumped in Memi Lake, a few miles west of the mine shaft.

Police have been criticised for not doing enough to investigate the missing cases, with the government making an official apology saying officers failed to act with due diligence by jumping to unmerited conclusions or ignoring important information regarding the disappearances. 

- 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)

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Orestis  |  Nikos  |  Nicos  |  Metaxas  |  murder  |  rape  |  serial killer  |  Mitseros  |  red lake  |  Philippines  |  Romania  |  Nepal  |  army captain  |  photographer

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