NEWS

Divers find third suitcase in red lake

TAGS: Cyprus, Crime

Divers located a third suitcase on Tuesday at the red lake believed to contain the remains of an adult Filipina in the serial killer case.

According to media reports, divers located the third suitcase at the bottom of the Red Lake, in rural Nicosia, with officials speculating it may contain the remains of 30-year-old Maricar Valdez Arquiola.

The suitcase was taken to Nicosia General Hospital under police escort, while reports said the body was said to be bound, in an advanced stage of decomposition, along with concrete pavers to hold the weight down.

Maricar, who went missing in December 2017, is believed to have been murdered by alleged serial killer Nikos Metaxas, a 35-year-old Greek Cypriot army captain also known as Orestis.

Maricar’s body could be crucial for prosecutors as it is a case where the circumstances of her actual disappearance are reportedly linked directly to the suspect and his actions, including messaging, real-time information, and geographical data.

Metaxas has reportedly confessed to seven murders of five adult women and two children, all foreign nationals. He is facing multiple charges in five cases with seven counts of premeditated murder, and another case of rape, indecent assault, and kidnapping, while other charges include privacy violation, attempted evidence tampering, and obstruction of justice.

Police spokesperson Andreas Angelides told reporters on Tuesday there would be no comments that might point to any details in reference to how the body was found.

“This is a very important development in the case under investigation,” Angelides said, adding that search efforts in Memi Lake will continue in search of another victim, the young daughter of one of the other slain victims.

Investigators believe they have incontrovertible evidence against the suspect regarding Maricar, including a witness saying the suspect met with the victim on the day of her disappearance, as well as image files found in his residence and phone records such as messages, timestamps, and location data.

According to media reports, a suspicious text message sent from Maricar’s phone right after her disappearance was at the centre of the investigation, along with a photo screen capture of the victim’s pink slip (immigration document) found on a device belonging to the suspect, possibly stored as an image file on a USB drive.

The pink slip was retrieved by police on 23 February 2018, where it was spotted in Nicosia’s Ayioi Omoloyites borough over two months into her disappearance. Reports said an investigation into Maricar's document did not yield anything suspicious at the time.

The suspect reportedly admitted to interrogators that he met with Maricar on 13 December 2017 while initially denied killing her.

[Kathimerini Cyprus]

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