A Nicosia judge has renewed the remand for the main suspect in the serial killer case, with prosecutors hinting at a police lineup as a next step in the investigation.
Nikos Metaxas, the 35-year-old suspected serial killer also known as Orestis, appeared before a Nicosia judge on Thursday morning where he was remanded for another week. This was the seventh time the Greek Cypriot army captain, also a skilled photographer, showed up in the courtroom wearing a bulletproof vest and without a lawyer.
The prosecutors in the case told the judge that crime investigators are preparing an identity parade in the case, with reports saying police have collected some 700 statements including tips from a large number of foreign women who had contact or some form of communication with Orestis. Investigators are expected to collect some 80 more statements as they are putting together a complex case.
Orestis is facing seven counts of murder and one rape, with reports saying he admitted to police killing seven females, all foreign nationals, but denied any involvement in the alleged rape.
A police lineup is reportedly being prepared while lab test results from samples taken from the suspect’s three vehicles are also expected soon
The latest remand came two days after a third suitcase with a female body inside had been recovered from the red lake in rural Nicosia. The body is believed to belong to a 29-year-old Filipina, Maricar Valdez Arquiola, who went missing in December 2017.
Prosecutors told the court that Orestis had communicated with Maricar through the social networking site Badoo, while cyber analysts are still sifting through enormous amounts of online data.
The suspect had used Badoo in communicating with at least three of his other slain victims, while the whereabouts of three other females are still unknown. Foreign experts, who have been consulted by Cypriot investigators, believe the alleged serial killer may have targeted more victims.
A police lineup is reportedly being prepared as lab test results from samples taken from the suspect’s three vehicles are also expected soon. Prosecutors said new privacy warrants for phone records have also been issued.
Cases laid out in court
Orestis is accused of killing 30-year-old Marry Rose Tiburcio from the Philippines, whose body was discovered by chance on April 14 inside a flooded and abandoned mineshaft, right across from the red lake. Prosecutors said the crimes in Marry Rose’s case were committed between 5 May 2018 and 14 April 2019 in Nicosia and Larnaca districts, with investigators pointing out that the suspect was in communication with the victim through Badoo. Prosecutors told the judge that the suspect admitted after his arrest that he killed Marry Rose while a week later he reportedly also confessed to killing her 6-year-old daughter Sierra, who is still missing.
A second case involves the murder of another Filipina, 28-year-old Αrian Palanas Lozano, whose body was found on April 20 at the same mine in Mitseros. Prosecutors pointed out Orestis was communicating with the victim through Badoo, while the suspect admitted to the murder after Arian’s body had been found. The crimes are alleged to have taken place between 23 July 2018 and 20 April 2019.
The third case involves Maricar’s murder, with prosecutors pointing out that the suspect was communicating with the victim through Badoo. They also said Orestis admitted to killing Maricar and dumping her body in the red lake inside a suitcase, where she remained until a diver on Tuesday located the suitcase underneath mud.
The fourth case involves another mother and daughter from Romania, with prosecutors saying the suspect admitted to killing 36-year-old Livia Florentina Bunea and her 8-year-old daughter Elena Natalia, both of whom went missing on 30 September 2016. Orestis reportedly told investigators he had dumped their bodies in the red lake in separate suitcases, which they were retrieved on April 28 May 5 respectively.
The fifth case, according to the prosecutors, involves the murder of a Nepalese woman, 30-year-old Asmita Khadka Bista also known as Kadha Anu, who disappeared on 2 July 2018 from her place of residence in Nicosia. Her remains were found inside a dry well in Orounda, inside the grounds of a firing range in Orounda, rural Nicosia. Prosecutors said the suspect admitted to killing the victim with alleged crimes taking place between 2 July 2018 and 26 April 2019.
The sixth and final case involves the rape of a young Filipina, a 19-year-old inspiring model back in 2017 who reportedly had been communicating with the suspect on social media. On 30 April 2019, the 21-year-old woman filed an official complaint against Metaxas, saying he had raped her in early 2017, after he picked up her up to show her some professional photographs they had taken previously. According to the complaint, Orestis drove the young woman to a remote location where he raped her.