Cyprus mulls draining lake in hunt for serial killings victim

Nicosia (AFP) –


Authorities in Cyprus said Thursday they may drain a lake in efforts to find the body of a six-year-old Filipina girl, believed to be the youngest victim of a serial killer.

A Greek Cypriot army officer is in custody after reportedly confessing to murdering seven foreign women and girls in a string of killings that have rocked the Mediterranean island.

The police have so far recovered five bodies, including remains dumped inside suitcases in another lake.

Despite weeks of searching with the help of Israeli experts the police and fire department have failed to locate the body of the six-year-old, whose mother's corpse has already been discovered in a disused mine.

Fire services chief Markos Trangolas told state radio that authorities are examining whether to partially drain the lake to bring the water level down by around five metres as they search the area where local media say the suspect confessed to dumping the body.

There were no plans to pump all two million tonnes of water out of the 60-metre deep lake, he said.

Elsewhere a search for another suspected victim from the Philipines has been put on hold to give divers a rest.

The killings came to light when tourists spotted a body brought to the surface of a mine shaft by unusually heavy rains.

That triggered a murder investigation which led to the army captain's arrest on April 18.

The failure by the authorities to follow up on reports that the women were missing has sparked ire and led to the dismissal of the police chief.