The probe into the police handling of missing persons reports filed for the victims of serial killer Nicos Metaxas will hold accountable any police officer who mishandled the case, regardless of rank, the president of the independent police watchdog, Andreas Paschalides, said on Wednesday.
In the meantime, Paschalides urged that the public be patient until the investigation is complete, with results expected by the end of October.
Serial killer Metaxas, 35, claimed the lives of five women and two children aged six and eight, daughters of two of the women.
A three-member team of investigators has been tasked with examining potential shortcomings in the way the force handled the missing persons reports, after they were widely criticised for apparently not thoroughly investigating the cases.
On August 1, the independent police watchdog overseeing the probe granted investigators a three-month extension due to the bulk of material that has been accumulated.
Each involved person gives their own account regarding their role and actions, which the team of investigators must study and evaluate. So far, Paschalides said, over 100 statements have been collected, including that of the former Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou.
A main concern for the investigating team is that the findings assign responsibility regardless of rank, Paschalides added.
Once completed, Paschalides said that the investigators’ findings will be submitted to the police force for study, before they are sent along with the force’s comments and suggestions, to the attorney-general who will decide the way forward.
“We want to do our job right. It might take some time, and I understand the public’s impatience, but patience is sometimes required for the truth to emerge,” Paschalides said.
The case forced the resignation of Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou and the dismissal of the chief of police Zacharias Chrysostomou, as reports suggested earlier investigations into the disappearances were deficient.
The case emerged on April 14 after the accidental discovery of a woman’s body inside a mine shaft in Mitsero.
It was followed by the discovery of a second body in the same shaft and the arrest of army officer Metaxas. It took two more months for the rest of his victims’ bodies to be recovered from Mitsero’s ‘red lake’, a shooting range and another small lake near Xyliatos reservoir. Metaxas was sentenced to seven life sentences.