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Cyprus
May 21, 2019
Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Hundreds gather outside presidential palace for mine murder victims

Photo: Philip Mark

A demonstration was taking place outside the presidential palace on Friday evening to demand justice ‘for those women who have been lost,’ and who ‘were searched for by nobody’.

Police have so far retrieved the bodies of three Filipino female victims – there may be seven in total – of a suspected serial killer Nicos Metaxas.

Almost 3,000 people expressed their interest in the Facebook event, and hundreds gathered at the palace to take part in the demonstration, where the list of missing and murdered women was to be read out, followed by minute’s silence.

The organiser and participants did not want the demonstration to be hijacked by political parties.

The cases of all women who are believed or have been found to be victims have unravelled a picture of an alarming failure by the police to adequately investigate the disappearances of the women at the time when they were reported missing.

So far, the only identified body is that of Mary Rose Tiburcio, retrieved from a shaft at the Mitsero mine on April 14. Tiburcio and her six-year-old daughter, Sierra Graze Seucalliuc, for whom police are still searching, were reported missing last May, though the reaction by the police appears to have been inadequate, telling concerned friends and family that they probably left the country through the north.

A second body, believed to be Arian Palanos Lozano, was also found in the shaft on April 20. Though she was reported missing last July, the continuous efforts by Lozano’s mother and her mother’s employer to urge police to conduct a thorough investigation, appeared to fall on deaf ears.

A third body of an unidentified woman was recovered on Thursday afternoon near a firing range in Orounta. Metaxas allegedly told authorities it was a woman who was either from India or Nepal, according to reports.

On Friday, police shifted the search to another area of the abandoned mine, the so-called ‘red lake’ where the suspect allegedly said he disposed of three more bodies.

These, if the suspect was telling them the truth, would be the bodies of Maricar Valdez Arquiola, 30 from the Philippines who was reported missing in December 2017, Livia Florentina Bunea, 36, from Romania and her eight-year-old Elena Natalia Bunea who disappeared on September 30, 2016 in Nicosia.

Again, in the case of the mother and daughter from Romania, when police spokesperson Andreas Angelides was called late in 2016 to speak on a live news programme to inform the public on the ongoing investigation, said that “there is no evidence to point us towards a particular direction.”

Angelides at first noted that a search in the home of the mother and daughter showed that the two had taken various personal items with them, indicating an intent to flee, though friends of the missing Buneas had told reporters that all their personal belongings were left in the home. But Cybc showed footage from the home on Thursday night that showed the opposite.

A three-man committee has been appointed within the force to determine whether there had been missteps by the police in the initial probes into the disappearances of the victims.

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