Cyprus: Suitcases found in lake in search for more victims of 'serial killer'

Two suitcases have been located in a lake by Cypriot police searching for more victims of a suspected serial killer.

The alleged murderer, named locally as Nicos Metaxas, a 35-year-old Greek Cypriot army officer, claims he has killed five women and two girls and says he put some of the victims' bodies in suitcases.

Officers have been searching a man-made lake which is part of an abandoned copper mine, and a police official said the suitcases have been discovered using remote-control cameras.

The suspect has been held for a week and a court has now extended his detention for another eight days.

Officers have been searching three different locations west of Cyprus' capital Nicosia for victims and are also looking for a third suitcase.

The bodies of three women, including two thought to be from the Philippines, have been recovered.

Police sources said he had indicated the location of the third body, found on Thursday, and said the person was "either Indian or Nepali".

Officers said they were searching for a further four victims, including two children, based on the suspect's testimony.

The case has shocked the Mediterranean island and exposed authorities to accusations of "criminal indifference" because all the victims were foreign.

A team of British detectives is due to arrive on the island on Monday to help with the investigation, police said.

Opposition AKEL politician Irene Charalambides said: "These women came here to earn a living, to help their families.

"They lived away from their families.

"And the earth swallowed them, nobody was interested.

"This killer will be judged by the court but the other big question is the criminal indifference shown by the others when the reports first surfaced. I believe, as does my party, that the justice minister and the police chief should resign.

"They are irrevocably exposed."

A 70-year-old Cypriot man who did attempt to alert the authorities over the disappearances has said his motives were questioned by police.

Officers have said they will investigate any perceived shortcomings in their handling of the case.

The bodies of the two Filipino women reported missing in May and August 2018 were found in an abandoned mine shaft this month.

Police discovered the body of the third woman at an army firing range about nine miles (14km) from the mine shaft.

Police are now searching for the six-year-old daughter of the first victim, a Romanian woman who disappeared with her eight-year-old child in 2016, and a woman from the Philippines who vanished in December 2017.