x

Society

Cyprus Serial Killer Wrote Confession, Justice Minister Resigns

May 2, 2019

A 35-year-old Cypriot National Guard captain confessed in writing to killing five foreign women and two children after he realized the evidence against him was overwhelming in a lurid case that has gripped the attention of world headlines and in the island country, as police found themselves assailed with criticism they didn’t investigate missing persons.

While most local and Greek media were giving his online tag Orestis – the name he used to lure the victims – other media reported it is Nicos Metaxas and that he decided to admit the killings because he wanted “to go to prison” although he’s married with two children.

With Cypriot police reeling after local groups of Filipino women who are domestic workers, and their supporters complained the reports they made of missing women and children were ignored, Scotland Yard detectives and a CSI team of United Kingdom forensic experts came to help.

“I am bored. I want to go to prison. Bring some paper so I can write it all,” Metaxas was quoted as saying by the leading daily newspaper, Politis, before he made the 10-page confession and as he admitted using a pseudonym to meet women on a dating app.

The Cypriot police chief Zacharias Chrysostomou and leading investigators briefed experts from Scotland Yard on the investigation into the killings, police spokesman Andreas Angelides said after he deflected criticism the department ignored complaints of missing women.

Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou resigned as cries grew over the police department failures and lapses in investigating missing persons report of a number of foreign women. He said it was a matter of “conscience and principle” for him to quit even though he said he wasn’t responsible for what had occurred.

He said a key reason that led to his resignation was that those investigative gaps concern not only the police but also society’s “attitudes and perceptions that honor none of us.”

The CSI team visited the red lake at Mitseros where a suitcase was found with a decomposed body inside as the case continued to garner attention and headlines around the world and puzzlement how the confessed killer was able to get away with the crimes.

The toxic lake is where Metaxas said he dumped three of his victims after putting them inside suitcases and where one was discovered on Easter but divers having trouble locating the others, despite using a robotic camera, because of very poor visibility in the lake that is part of a disused copper pyrite mine.

A high-tech sonar device was used to provide detailed images of what lies at the bottom of the lake and at another reservoir where the suspect told investigators he dumped a child’s body, the daughter of one of his victims.

He said evidence investigators have gathered so far does not indicate that the suspect is linked to any more than the seven people he’s already confessed to killing although there were fears as many as 30 were missing after being linked to online dating sites.

Angelides said police weren’t to blame and dismissed criticism police botched the initial missing persons’ reports, saying that an internal investigation is underway. Some of the women had been missing for years and police were said to have believed they moved.

“From the moment that the investigation began, I believe that no other questions should be answered,” he told reporters, shifting the focus away from the way the department had handled the cases with anger mounting.

The identified victims so far included Mary Rose Tiburcio. Her 6-year-old daughter Sierra, Arian Palanas Lozano, 28, and Maricar Valdez Arquila, 31, all from the Philippines as well as Livia Florentina Bunea, 36, and Elena Natalia Bunea, 8, from Romania. Metaxas reportedly said he Sierra Tiburcio in the reservoir because she was a witness.

Philippine diplomats met with the Cypriot ministers of foreign affairs and justice as well as with top police brass to inquire about the investigation.

The Romanian woman and her daughter had been missing since September 2016 but their cases only came to light now with the investigation unfolding.

POLICE DEFLECT BLAME

State TV journalist Gogo Alexandrinou said during the disappearance of Bunea and her daughter, police told her they believed the two had gone to the occupied Turkish-Cypriot northern third of the island but didn’t give any reason why they would do that.

Police Supporters’ Association chief Neophytos Papamiltiadous told state TV the department was doing a great job – now – despite anecdotal evidence indicating the officers who handled the missing person reports didn’t take them seriously.

He also said it would have been better if the committee probing police actions on this case had been appointed from outside the police force. Several political parties have asked for both the Justice Minister and the Police Chief to step down but President Nicos Anastasiades said little about the case.

The remains of a woman were discovered in a suitcase in the toxic red waters of one lake, the body in a foetal position and fully dressed, in an advanced stage of decomposition. Following the failure of a postmortem to confirm identification and cause of death, police said they were awaiting the results of DNA and histopathological tests, The Guardian said.

The victim is believed to be either Livia Bunea or 30-year-old Maricar Arquila from the Philippines, who disappeared in December 2017.

THE REMAINS

The three other apparent victims were found naked, bound and wrapped in sheets. They include two Filipinas retrieved from an abandoned mineshaft and a woman thought to be Nepalese discovered at an army firing range after the suspect led investigators to the site, the paper said.

Angelides told the island’s news agency that statements were being taken and electronic data examined as efforts intensified to crack crimes that had gone undetected for at least three years.

A vigil organizer, Maria Mappouridou, used a bullhorn to read out the victims’ names as well as those of other missing women, as others shouted, “Where are they?” Some participants held placards decrying “sexist, misogynist and racist” attitudes about women who work as housekeepers or in low-paying service jobs.

“I felt obliged to do something for these women, all the missing women, all the killed women,” Mappouridou, said. “I think deep down, all that we want, what everybody wants, is justice,” too late for the dead.

One campaigner, Louis Koutroukides, said cops questioned his motives over reporting the missing women. “If they believed me when I went to the police things would have turned out differently,” he told state TV.

In an editorial, the Cyprus Mail accused the police force of racist disregard for women who had come to the island “to scrape a living,” but Anastasiades had not joined the call for the chief and other officers said to have ignored the missing persons reports to be fired.

“There is no escaping the fact that had they done their jobs in the case of Bunea, five lives could have been spared,” the paper wrote. “Perhaps the police’s utter disregard for the safety of poor foreign women, including single mothers, reflects the attitude of our society, which is not particularly concerned about protecting weak, impoverished and disempowered foreigners working in Cyprus.”

 

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)

RELATED

NICOSIA - Using testimony from British veterans Cypriots fighting for independence from the United Kingdom in the 1950’s, a book about that dark period in its Colonial history alleged that at least 14 Cypriots were tortured and murdered during an armed uprising.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.

Video

TNΗ’s Happenings of the Week by Eraklis Diamataris

NEW YORK – The National Herald’s Happenings of the Week as have been reported at the print and digital editions of TNH and presented by the TNH Editor Eraklis Diamataris.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.