Crime investigators in Nicosia believe they are getting closer to cracking the Strovolos double murder case wide open, despite coming away empty handed during a search in the perimeter of the home and sharing little information with the media.
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The case has shocked Cypriot society, where a 60-year-old beloved school teacher and his wife, a central banker aged 59, were found savagely stabbed to death in the bedroom of their own house Thursday early morning in Strovolos, Nicosia.
Police remain careful with what information they share with the media, citing the ongoing investigation and the sensitivity involved in the case
On Friday, it appeared that police did not have crucial information in their hands after officers and trained dogs did not find anything during a search inside or outside the home, including a knife believed to have been the murder weapon.
But police spokesman Andreas Angelides said on Saturday that the investigating team had a good picture of what took place. Camera footage and lab test results, along with a second autopsy, are expected very soon with the public showing interest in the case. But police are very careful with what they share with the media, citing the ongoing investigation and the sensitivity involved in the case.
The teenage son of the slain couple was to be questioned by investigators on Friday, but this did not take place as officers and psychologists needed to make sure the boy would be mentally prepared for a written deposition.
The crime was reported to authorities after midnight during early Thursday morning, when the couple’s 14-year-old son reportedly went to a neighbour’s house and told them he had escaped from his residence where masked men attacked and killed his parents.
Police found no evidence of forced entry, according to reports, and no blood stains around the house were discovered except in the bedroom, where the bodies of the Greek Cypriot couple were found in a pool of blood.
Dogs from the canine police unit joined an all-day search Friday in the perimeter outside the house, located in a central location in the Strovolos area. Officers using metal detectors were also seen combing the area for objects, but nothing had been found. Sources speculated that police were looking for a knife, but nothing had reportedly been found.
CCTV and other evidence
Police spokesman Andreas Angelides told CNA that investigators were still expecting results from scientific testing, presumably DNA, but also other types of lab tests.
According to CNA, police investigators have obtained and are examining footage from security cameras in the area.
A written deposition from the couple’s son was expected Friday but it was not immediately clear when that might take place.
An autopsy Thursday afternoon, which lasted more than six hours, revealed that the man was stabbed between 25 and 30 times in the chest, puncturing his heart and lungs and going into hemorrhagic shock. The woman was stabbed 10 times in the neck, with knife wounds aimed at the carotid artery and jugular vein, also sending them victim into hemorrhagic shock.
Family's forensic examiner denied access
State forensic pathologist Eleni Antoniou said the couple died from knife wounds that appeared to have been made by a very sharp object or instrument. Some media reports, following the autopsy, said the type of injuries were consistent with wounds caused by someone who might feel hate towards the victim.
A second autopsy was scheduled for Saturday afternoon, following a request from the victims' family while investigators also want to establish the exact time of death beyond any doubt in order to evaluate witness accounts.
Greek forensics professor Chara Speliopoulou was called in by the government to perform the second autopsy, while private forensic pathologist Marios Matsakis, who says he is acting on behalf of the victims' family, says he was denied access during the two autopsies.
Initial account of events
According to the initial account of events, the 14-year-old son had told police investigators that masked men, who were speaking in a Cypriot dialect and wearing hoodies, came to the residence and told him to stay calm and that he would not be harmed. He also said he managed to escape and run to a neighbour’s house to get help.
According to daily online Kathimerini, the son was being questioned in the early morning hours on Thursday, just after the crime had been reported. Psychologists and other trained specialists were reportedly present as well.
Reports said the boy recently had to deal with information related to his being adopted, after his biological Russian parents reportedly tracked him down and made contact. Knews could not confirm the report but police were also hearing from witnesses and other accounts, suggesting there was friction in the home in recent weeks as well as a health issue in the family. It is unclear whether this information was linked in any way to the recent events.