Fire services have still not started pumping water from a 130 metre deep mine shaft where the body of a 39 year old woman was found on Sunday as they review a number of safety issues, the Cyprus News Agency reports
The fire services and a private contractor were due to begin work this morning as police step up their search for the victim’s six year old daughter who was reported missing with her in May 2018.
But officials on site decided to postpone work as they review safety issues. The mine shaft is deep with galleys and there are concerns it may cave in altogether.
The victim’s 33 year old former boyfriend and father of the child was remanded in custody yesterday for eight days as a suspect in the woman’s murder. The child’s passport and a blue rope similar to that used to tie up the victim was found at his home.
Police have defended their handling of the 2018 case amid criticism that more should have been done at the time. Spokesman Andreas Angelides said Larnaca police had questioned people and alerted Interpol in the Philippines after a friend of the victim reported the disappearance of the mother and daughter.
Fire chief head Markos Trangolas said that a private contractor had been brought in to assist in pumping the water from the mine shaft. The fire services are using cameras.
Asked to comment on reports that a camera had picked up a ‘silhouette’ from the mine shaft, the spokesman said this was not something he could confirm.
Phileleftheros said police was looking for another man called Orestis who was reportedly the last person to see the woman and her daughter before her disappearance.
It said that police investigators had told Nicosia district court during Wednesday’s remand hearing that the victim’s friend had said that the woman and her daughter had been driven to Nicosia by a man called Orestis. Neither the woman nor the child ever returned.
According to her testimony, the victim had met Orestis online and the two were in a relationship.
Angelides would not confirm or deny police were looking for another person, saying only that investigations were ongoing.
The 33 year old suspect denies any involvement in the case. The court heard that he and the victim had split up in 2015 because he drank too much and because they argued over the custody of the child. They had no contact after their 2015 split and the last time he saw his daughter was in March 2017 when his mother visited from Romania.