NEWS

Lake search resumes in Cyprus for slain victims

TAGS: Crime, Cyprus

At least two more bodies are believed to be underwater in rural Nicosia, as divers resume search efforts to locate two more victims believed to have been slain by confessed serial killer Nikos Metaxas.

Divers at the red lake went away empty handed on Monday after an unknown object initially thought to have been a suitcase turned out to be an underwater rock. The search effort was also hampered by strong winds and zero visibility for the diver, who has retrieved two bodies so far, a mother and daughter from Romania allegedly killed by Metaxas along with four other women and another child.

Three new possible locations were identified for Tuesday’s mission, in search of the body of 30-year-old Maricar Valdez Arquiola from the Philippines, who went missing on 13 December 2017.

Maricar was allegedly murdered by Metaxas, a 35-year-old Greek Cypriot army captain also known online as Orestis. He told investigators he dumped three bodies in the red lake, while authorities have not concluded whether or not they believe he may be hiding more bodies.

Two bodies have been retrieved from the bottom of the red lake, 36-year-old Romanian national Livia Florentina Bunea and her 8-year-old daughter Elena Natalia Bunea, both of whom were last seen in September 2016.

Orestis had pointed out to investigators the watery grave, saying that Maricar was among the three victims in the lake while he previously led investigators to a remote pit in rural Nicosia where he said a body found there in late April was another one of his victims, 30-year-old Asmita Khadka Bista from Nepal. And ten days earlier, the bodies of two other Filipinas, 38-year-old Marry Rose Tiburcio and 28-year-old Αrian Palanas Lozano, were discovered inside the flooded mine shaft.

Still no sign of Sierra

The daughter of Marry Rose, 6-year-old Sierra Graze Seucalliuc, is still missing. Orestis claimed that he dumped the little girl in Memi lake, in Xiliatos reservoir about eight miles west of Mitseros, but divers so far have failed to locating anything.

Sonar technology leased from the United States also failed to indicate possible underwater locations for little Sierra. Memi Lake was described as reaching 70 metres in depth in some areas while there are also tree trunks and other debris that make the work of analysing sonar data more difficult.

- Marry Rose Tiburcio, 38, Philippines (DNA confirmed)
- Sierra Graze Seucalliuc, 6, Philippines (missing, feared dead)
- Αrian Palanas Lozano, 28, Philippines (DNA confirmed)
- Maricar Valdez Arquiola, 30, Philippines (presumed dead)
- Livia Florentina Bunea, 36, Romania (body identified)
- Elena Natalia Bunea, 8, Romania (body found)
- Asmita Khadka Bista, 30, Nepal (DNA pending)

[Kathimerini Cyprus]

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