A vigil was held in Nicosia for the victims of a detained military officer, who has so far confessed to killing five foreign women and two girls. The number of the victims is expected to escalate to more, bearing in mind the number of missing foreign women that were presumed to have left the country.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades expressed his “deep sorrow and concern” following the slayings of foreign women, mainly Asian, who came to the island to seek work. The serial killer selectively targeted foreign women online.
Police have intensified their search for more dumped bodies. Five British law enforcement officials were coming to the island to help with the investigations.
The suspect is a 35-year-old military official who has yet to be formally charged. He admitted to the murder of two bodies found in an abandoned mine but also told police that he had killed another four people.
An examination of his computer has shown suspicious conversations with as many as 30 foreign women. The suspect will appear in court on Saturday for another custody hearings.
Cypriot police have come under fire by immigrant activists who believe that they did not take missing people reports seriously when it came to foreign domestic workers. Missing persons cases are now being revisited following the discovery of the bodies.
The first victim found was Filipino Marry Rose Tiburcio, 38, who had been missing with her six-year-old daughter since May last year. Her bound body was found in an abandoned mine shaft. The girl’s body, believed to have been dumped in a reservoir, has not been found yet.
Six days later the police found the body of Arian Palanas Lozano, also from the Philippines. The 28-year-old was dumped in the same mineshaft as Tiburcio.
Another alleged victim is Maricar Valtez Arquiola, 31, from the Philippines. She has been missing since December 2017. The suspect denied involvement in her disappearance but reversed himself after a court hearing on Thursday.
Police discovered another unidentified body at a military firing range that the suspect pointed them to. The victim is believed to be of either Nepalese or Indian descent.
Romanian Livia Florentina bunea, 26, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elena Natalia Bunea, have been missing since September 2016 and are also believed to be victims of the serial killer.