Fate of 11-year-old Alex has opened Pandora’s box

More than a week after news broke that five children had confessed to killing 11-year-old Alex Meshivili, who disappeared last February in the northern town of Veria, his body has still not been found. Many believe police have have bungled the case so badly that all aspects of the investigation can no longer be fully explored. That means that Alex’s exact fate might never be known. According to legal experts, the children’s confessions, including those portions which they have not retracted, will be difficult to prove in court due to the absence of a body, of forensic evidence and DNA identification. In other words, if no body is found and if coroners cannot show that Alex died of multiple injuries or one single fatal blow (which could have resulted from a fall while being chased), the real cause of death might never be established. This is a major issue as it means the perpetrators will then be tried for willful or accidental manslaughter, rather than premeditated murder, in which case the penalties will be quite different. The question also has to be answered as to whether five children actually beat another child to death and for what reason. Under pressure from the media, the authorities were rushed into announcing details of the investigation and lost the advantage of confidentiality at the most crucial moment, when they had the confessions and were looking for the body. In Veria, there has been much criticism of the fact that the case first came to light on a television show that investigates disappearances. Police were dragged into digging at the site where the child’s body was reportedly buried. The show’s producers sent cameras to the site that night, crowing over their «exclusive.» The authorities were forced to give an unofficial report on the midnight news. Any attempt at confidentiality during the investigation is now futile.

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