The charges of alleged negligence and racism were dropped against 15 Cypriot police officers who were involved in the investigation of the serial killing and the disappearance of seven foreign women, including three Filipino nationals and children, a top prosecutor in Cyprus announced on Monday, June 14, 2021.
In a statement attributed to the office of Cyprus Attorney-General George Savvides, it said prosecutors could not prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that the said police officers had been criminally negligent.
“It is clear from case law that ‘error, however serious, negligence, stupidity, inadequacy or incompetence, do not meet the level of a reckless act required for an offense of neglect of duty,” the prosecutor’s office was quoted as saying in the statement.
The statement added that the failure to connect the missing persons to a possible murder case did not amount to “willful and deliberate neglect of duty”.
The main suspect in the serial killing, Greek-Cypriot army captain Nikos Metaxas, is now serving life sentence after pleading guilty to the killings of five women and two children that only came to light in 2019. According to multiple reports, the victims killed between 2016 and 2018 were from the Philippines, Romania and Nepal. The children, aged six and eight, were daughters of two of the women.
In June 2019, a suitcase believed to be containing the body of a Filipina worker was found at the bottom of a toxic lake in the western part of the capital Nicosia.
Cypriot police said they have discovered the decomposed body stuffed in a suitcase of Maricar Valtez Arquiola, 31, from the Philippines.
Arquiola was believed to be the sixth of the seven victims of serial killings perpetrated by the army officer who confessed to the killing.
Prior to this, Cypriot police have recovered the remains of four women and one girl, including the two other bodies in suitcases dumped in the same lake.
Authorities said the body was already in a state of decomposition when recovered.
On April 14, 2019, Cypriot police found the body of Mary Rose Tiburcio, 38, also from the Philippines, in a flooded shaft near the toxic lake, also in Nicosia.
Six days later, another body believed to be that of 28-year-old Arian Palanas Lozano, also from the Philippines, was found in the same area.
The 35-year-old suspect admitted to investigators that he disposed of the bodies of a Filipino woman and a Romanian mother and daughter in the lake after placing their bodies in suitcases.
He also led authorities to a dry well in a military firing range where the remains of a Nepalese woman, were found.
The Filipina victims were reported missing between 2017 and 2018. Authorities have initially thought that they disappeared for other reasons and had not been victims of a violent crime.