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Cyprus finds suspected remains of sixth 'serial killer' victim

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Nicosia (AFP)

Cypriot authorities on Tuesday recovered the remains of a body stuffed in a suitcase at the bottom of a lake believed to be the sixth victim of a suspected serial killer.

A Greek Cypriot army officer is in custody after reportedly confessing to murdering five foreign women and two of their daughters in a string of killings that have left the Mediterranean holiday island in shock.

The police have so far recovered five other bodies, including remains dumped inside two other suitcases found in the same lake.

"A suitcase was found in the lake which on first examination appears to be the remains of a body in a state of decomposition," police spokesman Andreas Angelides told reporters.

"This is a very important development... we will now proceed with identifying the body," he added.

The suitcase is thought to contain the body of missing Filipina Maricar Valdez.

New Cyprus police chief Kypros Michaelides said what he saw at the lake was "unprecedented" in his 42 years of service and that he had never seen such "savagery".

State radio reported the suitcase was weighed down with slabs of pavement.

Investigators are still searching a different lake for the remains of a six-year-old Filipina girl, whose mother's corpse has already been found.

Authorities said Thursday they may partially drain that lake in efforts to find the body after weeks of searching with the help of UK and Israeli experts produced no results.

The killings, which went undetected for nearly three years, 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 and the resignation of the justice minister.

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