ATHENS (Reuters) – Police in Cyprus found a body on Wednesday thought to be the seventh and last victim of a serial killer who preyed on foreign women for almost three years without detection.
Police said they had found the remains in lake Memi southwest of the capital Nicosia, where they had been looking for the body of the six-year-old daughter of the first victim discovered.
“Human remains have been found and forensic pathologists are on the scene,” a police spokesman said.
A 35-year-old Greek Cypriot army captain has been in custody since late April on suspicion of killing five adult women and the young daughters of two of the victims.
Police say they have written confessions from the suspect, who met the women online. Most were employed as housekeepers on the island and disappeared between September 2016, and July to August 2018.
The case, the worst peace-time atrocities against women in Cyprus in memory, has triggered outrage and horror on an island where serious crime is relatively rare.
The police chief was sacked and the justice minister resigned following accounts of bungled investigations by police who did not take the disappearances seriously because the women were foreign.
Police had been scouring the lake for weeks looking for the daughter of 38-year-old Marry Rose Tiburcio from the Philippines, who was found dead by tourists shooting pictures at a mining shaft in late April.
The body of Tiburcio, who disappeared with daughter Sierra in May 2018, was the first victim to be discovered.
The funeral and burial of Livia Florentina Bunea, 38, from Romania, and her eight-year-old daughter Elena, found dead last month at another lake locally referred to as the Red lake, were to be held in Cyprus on Thursday.
The Cyprus government said it would cover the costs of the victims’ funerals.
(Reporting by Michele Kambas; Editing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Alison Williams)