Cyprus police search for victims of suspected serial killer | News | DW | 27.04.2019
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Cyprus police search for victims of suspected serial killer

The suspect has admitted to killing seven foreign women and children, mostly Filipino domestic workers, on the Mediterranean island. The murders only came to light after a German tourist found a body.

Cypriot authorities at the weekend searched for the victims of a suspected serial killer in a case that has shocked the nation. 

A 35-year-old Greek Cypriot army officer, who has been in detention for a week, is suspected of killing seven women and children.

The weekend's search focused on two lakes southwest of Nicosia where the suspect allegedly confessed to have dumped the victims' bodies.

Since April 14, police have retrieved three bodies, all believed to be Filipino domestic workers. One of them was recovered on Thursday after the suspect showed investigators the spot where he had thrown a body.

"We are searching step-by-step," Andreas Kettis, a fire department spokesman, told AFP news agency.

Read more: What makes a serial killer?

The police search comes amid mounting criticism of the authorities' handling of the case. The main opposition party, the left-wing AKEL, has called for the resignation of the justice minister and police chief over Cyprus' "first serial killings."

Justice Minister Ionas Nocolau and Police Chief Zacharias Chrysostomou said there would be an investigation into any possible shortcomings.

President Nicos Anastasiades condemned the killings of foreign women. "Shocked by the revelation of so many shameful murders of innocent foreign women and young children," the president said in a statement, expressing his "deepest sorrow and strong concern."

Read more: German nurse confesses to killing 100 patients

Women hold candles at a vigil for the murdered women

The murders have triggered an outpouring of grief among the country's Fillipino community

'Brutal' murders

The killings have horrified the people of Cyprus, a small nation with a population of just over a million and where multiple slayings are rare.

On Friday, several hundred people held a candlelit vigil in the capital, Nicosia, to demand justice for the victims.

"We are here … for our victims. We ask for justice for all these girls that were brutally murdered. It is a very devastating time, because we are all just here to work," said Lissa Jataas, a member of the OBERAS Empowered Filipino Migrant Movement in Cyprus.

Ester Beatty, head of the Federation of Filipino Organizations in Cyprus, said the community "was still coming to terms" with the "brutal" murders.

"Right now, everyone is very scared," she said, urging "vigilance" amongst the community.

Activist Maria Mappouridou said the deaths should be a wakeup call for the island. "This is big. The women have been missing for years and no one has been asking where they've been," she said. "Someone has to take responsibility."

Read more: Russian serial killer found guilty of 56 further murders

Search continues

The case came to light after a German tourist, who was taking photographs of a mine, spotted the first body, which came to the surface of a 150-meter (500-foot) shaft that flooded after heavy rains.

Police are still searching for the body of a 6-year-old Filipino girl, daughter of one of the murdered women.

They are also investigating the cases of a missing Romanian mother and her young daughter, as well as an unidentified Asian woman who is also believed to be among the victims.

shs/aw (AFP, Reuters)

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