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20 September, 2019
 
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Police close to wrapping up Orestis case

Still no signs of Maricar and Sierra, police say no basis that suggests any more victims

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There are still no signs of Maricar and little Sierra as authorities failed to locate their bodies so far, while police say they see no evidence to suggest that Orestis committed more than seven murders.

(Click here for an update to the story)

According to local media, an underwater search at the Red Lake in Mitseros, rural Nicosia, yielded nothing on Wednesday except a couple of objects unrelated to the serial killer case.

Orestis is believed to have had time to get rid of crucial evidence after his name came up accidentally in court during the remand of a wrongly arrested suspect

On Tuesday, police were optimistic when a cement block retrieved from the lakebed was linked to a suitcase and possibly the body of 30-year-old Maricar Valdez Arquiola, a Filipina who went missing in December 2017. But on Wednesday, divers failed to locate the body while they managed to pull out of the water two other objects. Preliminary reports said two boxes appeared to be unrelated to the search.

Alleged serial killer Nikos Metaxas, also known as Orestis, is in custody on seven counts of murder and one rape, after he reported admitted seven murders - all foreign females - and said he dumped three bodies in suitcases at the red lake, including Maricar.

Police Chief Kypros Michaelides said on Wednesday that investigators had no “reasonable suspicion” that the confessed killer murdered any more victims.

“There has been no disappearance among the 30 women within whom the 35-year-old suspect had been in contact,” Michaelides said.

Evidence tampering

But earlier reports suggested that police were not sure whether Orestis had been telling the truth, following criticism that the suspect had enough time to tamper with evidence, such as destroying a mobile phone believed to have had more information and possibly incriminating evidence. The suspect also allegedly used the phone to videotape a rape inside his vehicle, according to a young Filipina, a 21-year-old aspiring model, who says the suspect raped her when she was 19.

Police have reiterated that they have an enormous amount of evidence to sift through, including digital files confiscated from the suspect’s home, while the bulk of attention was on computer forensics and cyber crime investigations into his online activities on the internet.

Orestis, who is facing seven counts of premeditated murder, is believed to have had time to get rid of crucial evidence after his name came up accidentally in court during the remand of a Romanian male, whom police initially suspected in the death of a Filipina and her young daughter.

The initial suspect was described as ex-partner of slain 38-year-old Marry Rose Tiburcio and father of the missing child they had together, 6-year-old Sierra. But police dropped the charges two days after the arrest, a day after it emerged in court that another man had indeed been a primary suspect in the disappearance of the mother and child a year earlier.

A friend of Marry Rose, another Filipina who helped identify the body, had told police on 5 May 2018 about a man named Orestis and provided his phone number, telling cops that his friend and her child went to see him the night before, 4 May 2018. Police reportedly dialed the number but failed to follow up when they realised the phone had been turned off.

Marry Rose’s body was discovered by chance inside a flooded mine shaft last month, April 14, which led to the discovery of the body of a second Filipina days later. Investigators have been working around the clock to put a criminal case together, while critics are still pointing at the authorities for failing to properly investigate missing reports of foreign women, who later turned up dead and allegedly killed by Orestis.

- 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  |  Nicosia  |  Orestis  |  serial killer  |  Metaxas  |  evidence  |  tampering  |  red lake  |  Mitseros  |  mine shaft

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