An inquest into the 2005 suspicious death of a soldier was adjourned on Friday pending further investigation and decisions by the state on the handling of the case.

The family of the soldier and the state agreed to adjourn the process until October 4 to give time for further investigation into the conditions of the 26-year-old’s death and possibly fresh examination of his remains.

The family said it expects the state to order a criminal investigation into the death conducted by independent investigators.

The case concerns the death of Thanasis Nicolaou in September 2005, which had been ruled a suicide initially.

The family disputed the decision and has been fighting for the past 16 years to prove that the death was the result of foul play.

The remains were eventually exhumed, and pathologists found that Nicolaou’s hyoid – a U shaped bone that supports the tongue — was fractured, and it had been inflicted before his death.

Injuries to the hyoid bone are rare. The most commonly reported injury is fracture, and it is often a post-mortem finding with a high incidence in victims of strangulation and hanging.

He was found dead under a bridge in Alassa, Limassol, about 12 kilometres from his home and barracks. He was meant to report back to his unit after an overnight leave