Four Filipinas Were Among the Victims of Cyprus’s First Alleged Serial Killer
Seven women, including four Filipinas, were the victims of Cyprus’s first-ever alleged serial killer. The Filipinas were identified as Maricar Arquila, Arian Palanas Lozano, Mary Rose Tiburcio and Tiburcio’s six-year-old daughter Sierra Grace.
The three other victims include a Romanian woman and her daughter, and another woman believed to be from Nepal.
Of the four Filipinas, only the remains of Tiburcio and Lozano have been discovered and positively identified. Police said a third body they discovered could be either Arquila or the Romanian woman, identified as Livia Florentina Bunea.
Various media reports have identified the suspect as 35-year-old Nikos Metaxas, a former officer of the Cypriot army.
Local media in the Mediterranean island-nation said Metaxas has already confessed to the killings.
According to the British paper The Guardian, it was the discovery of Tiburcio’s body hidden in an abandoned copper mine close to a manmade lake last April that led to the killings first coming to light. Lozano’s remains were discovered at the site six days later.
The Guardian also quoted local police who said all the adult victims were employed locally as domestic helpers.
The suspect reportedly met the victims online through a dating app. A report in the state-run Cyprus News Agency said the suspect admitted to strangling one of the victims he met online after having sex with her.
Wire reports said the killings took place over a period of two-and-a-half years, when Bunea and her eight-year-old daughter Elena Natalia were first reported missing.
Cypriot police have come under fire for reportedly failing to properly investigate reports of missing persons. Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiedes has fired the police chief Zacharias Chrysostomou, while the country’s justice minister Ionas Nicolaou has resigned, citing political responsibility.
There were about 24,000 Filipinos living in Cyprus in 2015, according to a report on ABS-CBN News. About 90 percent of them work as domestic helpers. The rest are in hospitality, agriculture or shipping.