Police in Cyprus find latest victim in serial murder case

Police in Cyprus find latest victim in serial murder case
CNN image

Police in Cyprus are continuing operations to retrieve the remains of more victims in what appears to be the Mediterranean island’s first ever serial killing case.

The body of a fourth woman inside a suitcase was retrieved Sunday from a man-made toxic lake, west of the capital of Nicosia.

Using robotic cameras to search the water, police located a second suitcase and are continuing efforts Tuesday to retrieve it.

A 35-year-old suspect, who is in custody, was a career officer with the Cypriot National Guard. Police say he confessed to seven murders — of five women and two children — all foreign nationals.

The suspect met at least some of his victims on an internet dating site, where he used the name “Orestes,” police told CNN. Authorities said they will begin to review the online footprints of other women who have gone missing to see if they had contact with the suspect, fearing the list of victims may grow.

With a population of just 1.2 million, Cyprus has never been faced with a case like this before. Following a request from local authorities, Scotland Yard experts have arrived on the island in a consulting role.

The victims

Authorities began their investigation after finding the body of 38-year-old Marry Rose Tiburcio, from the Philippines, in a flooded mine shaft in Nicosia, on April 14. Tiburcio and her 6-year-old daughter were reported missing on May 5, 2018. The child, whom the suspect has claimed he killed, has not been found.

Days later, a second body, believed to be that of a 28-year-old woman also from the Philippines, was found in the shaft, police told CNN.

Both women had accounts on the same dating site, police said.

Police recovered a third woman’s body near the village of Orounda, west of Nicosia. The investigator assigned to the case said the body may be that of a Nepalese woman, the Cyprus News Agency reported.

Now, police have turned their attention to the Mitsero Red Lake, on the site of a closed copper mine around 17 miles from Nicosia.

According to the news agency, the suspect confessed to killing two women and a child and throwing their bodies into the lake.

The state news agency said the victims are believed to be 36-year-old Livia Florentina Bunea from Romania and her 8-year-old daughter, Elena Natalia Bunea, as well as Maricar Valdez Arquila, a 31-year-old woman from the Philippines, the state news agency said

CNN’s Elinda Labropoulou contributed to this report.