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Cyprus

Probe into police handling of missing victims of serial killer ready next month

The Mitsero red lake where three victims were found

The findings of a probe into the way the police handled the disappearances of several women and two girls who became the victims of a serial killer will be ready in November, the head of the independent police watchdog said on Thursday.

Andreas Paschalides told the Cyprus News Agency the probe was progressing, having covered the bulk of what had to be done.

He said the findings report will be ready within the deadline that was set.

It will be submitted to the police watchdog who will forward it to the attorney-general with its own recommendations.

In August, the investigative committee was granted a three-month extension due to the volume of work its three members had to deal with.

The investigators are probing potential shortcomings in the way the force handled the missing persons reports and the possible “commission of criminal and disciplinary offences and the people involved”.

Serial killer Nicos Metaxas, 35, claimed the lives of five women and two children aged six and eight, daughters of two of the women.

It quickly emerged that three of the women and the two children had been reported missing many months previously, but police apparently failed to carry out a proper investigation into their fate.

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 force is carrying out its own internal probes into the perceived shortcomings.

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 got seven life sentences.

 



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