Alleged serial killer Nikos Metaxas was remanded for another eight days on Friday, with prosecutors scrambling to build a solid case while trying to minimize the possibility of factual or legal errors.
Metaxas, a Greek Cypriot army captain also known as Orestis, is facing a total of six cases with seven counts of premeditated murder and one rape, with prosecutors telling a Nicosia district judge on Friday that he confessed to killing five women and two children. The suspect denies the rape allegations, while investigators are not sure whether the confession might be withdrawn prior to trial.
All seven bodies have been recovered, with six of them having been identified through DNA while the other victim, believed to be 6-year-old Sierra Graze Seucalliuc, was discovered on Wednesday at Memi Lake, Xiliatos reservoir in rural Nicosia.
Still no response from possible victim
Police are still looking for another female who was said to have communicated with Orestis online. Two other women gave signs of life recently, according to police, in an effort to rule out more victims in the serial killer case. One women was said to be in Portugal and the other in Cyprus.
The third person, whose social media profile reportedly showed activity before and after the suspect’s arrest, has yet to respond to messages from police. Some media have speculated that the woman may be afraid to come in contact with authorities. She has not been ruled out as another possible victim, while earlier reports said it could be a matter of time until all persons of interest come forward.
No official cause of death for the seven
An initial autopsy showed that Sierra was strangled to death, the same killing method allegedly used on her mother whose body was found in an old abandoned mine shaft two months earlier, a few miles away. Two other slain victims, mother and daughter from Romania who were buried on Thursday, were also reportedly killed by strangulation through the use of a headlock or chokehold.
But an official cause of death, which can be used in a court of law, has remained incomplete for all seven victims, pending lab test results and other factors that are expected to pinpoint an exact cause of death. Prosecutors are said to have a ten-page confession where the suspect reportedly describes how he killed the five women and two children.
Sierra's post mortem on Saturday
An official post mortem examination on Sierra’s body has been scheduled for Saturday, when Greek Cypriot and London-based pathologist Andreas Marnerides is expected to join state forensic pathologists Nicholas Charalambous and Angeliki Papetta.
It is not clear whether police will seek another remand or file a criminal case next weekend. If the suspect maintains on arraignment day his guilt based on his reported confession, there will be no criminal trial in five cases containing seven murder counts. However, legal experts say this might negatively affect a sixth case with rape allegations, as prosecutors are said to be relying on behaviour patterns from the murder cases to prove the rape charges.