The Mediterranean island of Cyprus has been rocked by reports of a serial killer, who has allegedly confessed to killing at least seven women and children. But there are fears he may have killed many more.
Two Filipino women who went missing in Cyprus over the past two years appear to have been slain by the man – along with the six-year-old daughter of one of the women, officials say.
A 35-year-old Greek Cypriot man has confessed to killing seven women and girls, the BBC reported. The man, an army officer now in police custody, has been described as the first serial killer found on the island.
But some reports have said that the man preyed on foreign women he met through an internet dating site and that the number killed could be dozens as he had had online contact with more than 30 women.
The suspect reportedly met two of the Filipinas, who were domestic workers, through Badoo, a dating-focused social network.
Police recovered the bodies of the two Filipinas from a flooded mine shaft on April 14. A third victim was reportedly was found on April 20 near the capital Nicosia.
The suspect, whose identity has not been revealed to the public, allegedly led police to a well at an army firing range where he dumped the body of the woman, whose nationality is not yet known.
‘Girl’s body thrown in lake’
The man, who was also an amateur photographer, allegedly told investigators he threw the body of the six-year-old daughter of one of the Filipinas into a lake at Xiliatos reservoir, 12km west of Mitsero, in the center of the island. Police divers have been scouring the lake in recent days for her and other bodies.
Other victims include a woman who was either Indian or Nepalese, plus a Romanian mother and her eight-year-old daughter who disappeared in 2016.
The Philippine government is trying to verify the identity of two bodies recovered from the abandoned mine earlier this month.
Emmanuel Fernandez, the acting assistant secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, said officials at the Philippine Embassy in Athens were checking to see if the bodies belong to two Filipinas who went missing early last year, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on April 25.
“The embassy sought help from the police to locate the two Filipinas. When the two bodies were discovered, the police got back to the embassy about the possibility that the bodies belonged to the two Filipinas,” Fernandez said.
The abandoned mine where the two bodies were found is about 30 kilometers west of Nicosia.
The case came to light after a German tourist taking photographs of the mine spotted the first body, which was brought to the surface of the 150-meter shaft, which flooded after unusually heavy rains, AFP reported.
Authorities in Cyprus were still looking for the six-year-old girl, according to various reports, and Fernandez said they had yet to receive confirmation about any further Filipino victims.
However, news sites on the island have identified the Filipinas and revealed graphic details, alleging that two of them were killed while the suspect had sex with them.
Help sought from British police
Police have sought help from international investigators amid criticism that local officials were slack in their follow-up on what happened to the missing women, with residents saying some of the victims were described as having left the island despite the fact they had disappeared and left their passports behind.
With the case becoming more complex, Cypriot police said they had requested help from Britain – saying they need a coroner, a clinical psychiatrist, a forensic specialist and investigators experienced in multiple murder cases.
“The police and Cypriot society are faced with a type of crime unprecedented for Cyprus,” police chief Zacharias Chrysostomou told reporters, according to AFP.
The mother of one Filipina, who had been searching for her daughter, met with Cyprus Housemaids Association president Louis Koutroukides, who wrote an open letter to the justice minister last year urging political figures to push for more aggressive investigations, one local news-site said.
The Filipino community on the island was so anxious that its members warned others to be careful about who they converse with on social media.