NEWS

Fugitive father found

A 35-year-old father, wanted by police for questioning with regard to the murder of his 13-year-old daughter last week, turned himself in yesterday after seeking guidance from the abbot of a monastery in central Greece whose novice monks are known nationally as the «Rocking Priests.» Christos Voulgarakis had been missing since his daughter, Vasso, was found stabbed to death in the house they shared in the village of Aghia Pelasgia near the central town of Lamia. The girl’s body was found on Saturday and police believe she was killed the previous Thursday. Voulgarakis had resigned from his job as a factory hand that week, saying he had won 20 million drachmas (60,000 euros) in a lottery. He and his wife were divorced several years ago and she lives in Athens. The kitchen knife used in the murder was found in the house, along with the father’s bloodied pajamas, making him the prime suspect. Yesterday he told police that he had been kidnapped by the same unidentified assailants who had murdered his daughter. He said he had been released near Igoumenitsa, a western port town, where his car was found on Wednesday. «I mourn a child that I loved excessively. I hear terrible things about myself,» he told Mega Channel. «If only I knew who had done this and why… I loved this child excessively, she was my whole life.» Voulgarakis told police he had gone to the Saint Augustine and Seraphim Sarof monastery at Trikorfo in Phocis province in order to seek spiritual guidance from its its abbot, Nektarios Moulatsiotis. The abbot called the monastery’s lawyer, who accompanied Voulgarakis to the police station at Nafpaktos. The charismatic Moulatsiotis is a household name because of frequent appearances on television. Last year he caused a minor sensation by saying that he would give sanctuary to fugitive police-killer Costas Passaris if he knocked on his door – before Passaris’s arrest in Romania. Moulatsiotis is also famous for managing a pop band made up of cassocked young men. They call themselves «Free»  but are generally known as the «Rocking Priests. ” In response to Church of Greece criticism, Moulatsiotis once said that none of the band members had been ordained and that his monastery was not part of the church but was rather an independent association. In the apparent interests of marketing this statement is not often repeated.