Two men were arrested on Tuesday in Rhodes for the brutal killing of a university student this week, in a case that has shaken the local community, but also upset the Greek public opinion as a whole.
The men, a 21-year-old Greek and a 19-year-old Albanian are charged with the rape and murder of 21-year-old Eleni Topaloudi, whose was found by the coast guard on 28 November, floating off the coast of Lindos last week. The young woman had been severely beaten and dumped to the sea.
The authorites were led to the two suspects, after examining footage from CCTV cameras in the area.
According to the Greek media, the 19-year-old initially admitted his involvement on Tuesday, though he is expected to retract his confession, after consulting with his lawyers. The 21-year-old – in whose family beach house the incident allegedly took place – continues to deny charges.
Police believe the two men killed the student after she resisted their sexual advances. The defendants are alleged to have hit the woman on the head with a blunt instrument (possibly a clothes iron) as well as with their fists. According to the 19-year-old’s initial testimony, the woman was begging them to take her to a hospital; instead, they put her on the back of a ute and drove to the shore. The coroner is reported to have confirmed that the woman was still alive when she was dumped to the sea, and that she would have probably survived, if she had been taken to the hospital.
Eleni Topaloudi was an undergraduate at the University of the Aegean on Rhodes island. Her body was flown to her hometown, Didimoticho, in Thrace, where her funeral took place on Thursday. The victim’s father gave a statement, thanking the authorities for bringing the two alleged perpetrators to justice, before his daughter’s burial.
Following the defendants’ contradictory statements, the lawyer representing the victim’s family requested for a reenactment of the crime.
The case has been the focus of a fiery debate in Greece, with media covering the story minute-by-minute and heated arguments being exchanged in social media, some targeting the nationality of the 19-year-old alleged perpetrator, while others going on to vilify the victim.