PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades said Friday police had acted in a negligent and unprofessional manner when investigating the disappearance of several women who eventually turned out to be victims of a serial killer.
Anastasiades was speaking during the affirmation of deputy chief of police Stelios Papatheodorou at the presidential palace.
“I’m taking this opportunity to express my sincere condolences and the state’s apology to the families and friends of the unfortunate victims for the negligent, wrong, and unprofessional way the members of the police force had acted,” Anastasiades said.
“At the same time, I ought to express sincere thanks to the members of the police and the fire service who have been working conscientiously and without pause to recover the victims’ bodies.”
It has been almost a month since the first victim of self-confessed serial killer Nicos Metaxas was discovered in a mine shaft.
Authorities have so far recovered five of the seven victims the 35-year-old army officer has claimed to have murdered, including two children.
On Friday, a diver entered the toxic water of red lake near Mitsero in search of a suitcase, which is believed to contain the body of one of the victims. Crews have so far recovered two bodies that were stuffed in suitcases.
A second body, that of a child, was also sought at another lake in Xyliatos. The search on both fronts came up empty-handed when efforts were called off for the day.
According to reports on Friday, state pathologists and anthropologists examining the body of Nepalese Asmita Khadka Bista, which was located at Orounta on April 25, have found evidence to suggest that her cause of death may have been a hard blow to the head.
Lab analyses are expected to shed light on the validity of these suspicions. If true, this would differentiate the MO of strangulation that authorities have so far pinpointed as the cause of death of three of Metaxas’ alleged victims.
In a meeting held at the fire service headquarters in Nicosia on Friday noon, the chiefs of the fire service and police, Marcos Trangolas and Kypros Michaelides, as well as the operator of the sonar technology, evaluated the search efforts so far and discussed the next steps.
Should the current search strategy fail to locate the two remaining bodies, authorities are expected to implement ‘plan C’, which involves the use of a ground penetrating radar. Reports claim that the device will be arriving in Cyprus next week