Cyprus finds suspected remains of 7th victim of 'serial killer'

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Turkish soldiers take part in a military search and rescue exercise with helicopters and ships near Magosa, Cyprus, on Wednesday. — AFP

NICOSIA — Cypriot authorities on Wednesday recovered what they believe are the remains of a six-year-old Filipina child from the bottom of a lake, the seventh and last victim of a suspected serial killer, police said.

A 35-year-old Greek Cypriot army officer is in custody after reportedly confessing to murdering five foreign women and two of their daughters in a string of killings that have left the Mediterranean holiday island in shock.

Police spokesman Andreas Angelides told reporters that a "small human body" in a state of decay was found in the lake at Xyliatos, southwest of Nicosia, at a depth of six meters (20 feet).

Investigators believe the remains are of six-year-old Filipina girl Sierra-Graze, whose mother, Mary Rose Tiburcio, was the first victim to be found on April 14. They were both reported missing on May 5, 2018.

State radio said the child's body was found by divers wrapped inside a carpet with a cement block tied on top of it.

Cypriot news website Philenews said the suspect was at the lake on Wednesday and gave more exact details to authorities on where he had originally dumped the body.

Authorities had planned to resort to partially draining the lake after weeks of searching with the help of British and Israeli experts produced no results.

The killings, which went undetected for nearly three years, came to light when tourists spotted a body brought to the surface of a mine shaft by unusually heavy rains.

That triggered a murder investigation which led to the army captain's arrest on April 18.

The failure by the authorities to follow up on reports that the women were missing has sparked ire and led to the dismissal of the police chief and the resignation of the justice minister.

Police had previously recovered six other bodies, including remains dumped inside three suitcases found at a different site, called Red Lake.

A funeral of a Romanian mother and daughter found in separate suitcases at the toxic Red Lake are to take place on Thursday in a village outside Nicosia.

The Cyprus government has agreed to cover the funeral costs of all seven victims. — AFP


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