Investigations continue into identity of body found in mine

Police are continuing investigations into the identity of a woman whose body was found tied up and wrapped in a sheet in an abandoned mine near Mitsero at around 3pm on Sunday. The body, which was badly decomposed, was found by a German photographer who was taking pictures in the area which he visited often.

The dead woman was retrieved from a shaft at a depth of 15 to 20 metres at 8.30pm by fire services and police.

Police are looking at all possibilities, including murder, police spokesman Andreas Angelides said on Monday. They are checking their register of missing people to see whether there is a possible match. Officers are also questioning residents near the mine. The post mortem, carried out by state pathologists Sofocles Sofocleous and Nicolas Charalambous, on Monday morning did not shed light on the cause of the woman’s death although it was reported that no stab wounds or gun injuries were found. Tissue was sent for histopathological and other tests.

The pathologists did not say how long they thought the body had been at the mine. Authorities are also trying to determine whether she was alive or dead when she was thrown into the mine shaft. According to state radio, she was 1.60 to 1.65 metres tall and probably Asian.

“From the findings at the scene, we are examining the possibility of a criminal act,” Angelides said.

He said that the first thing was to identify the woman as well as going through the registry of missing persons, adding she may not have been reported as missing. According to state broadcaster CyBC, police said there are 32 unsolved cases concerning persons reported as missing dating as far back as 1990, including Asian persons.

“We will look into everything concerning this case,” Angelides said.

Although he admitted he is not involved in the case, former state pathologist Marios Matsakis told media on Monday morning that it looked like a case of callous murder that was reminiscent of a previous case where the body of a woman was found down a well.

“There is no doubt that this is a callous murder. It will be a difficult forensic investigation because of the body’s decay,” he said.

Matsakis said it reminded him of the Oxana Lisna case 25 years ago.

“That was a double murder, the body of one woman was found in Kotsiatis [rubbish dump], while that of Lisna was found in a well. The murderers are now in prison,” he said.

Antonis Kitas, known as Al Capone, and Michalsi Iacovides were convicted in 1994 for the rape and murders of Ukrainian artiste Lisna, 20, and Swedish housewife Christina Ahfeldt, 28. Lisna’s battered body was discovered down a well near Livadia village, Larnaca, while Ahfeldt’s corpse was unearthed at Kotsiatis rubbish tip outside Nicosia. Both young women had been abducted, beaten and sexually assaulted before being murdered and dumped in the summer of 1993.

Al Capone and Iacovides are serving life sentences for the killings. Matsakis said the findings on Sunday’s discovery will depend on the way she was murdered. There is a procedure usually followed in such cases to rule out everything, he said.

“I wish for the cause of death to be determined and that the cold-blood murderers are found.”

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