Military officer who confessed to killing seven women in Cyprus investigated by police over alleged rape

A diver and an investigator remove a suitcase found in a man-made lake. Credit: AP

A former military officer who confessed to the murders of seven women and girls in Cyprus is being investigated for raping another woman he photographed as a model, police in the country have said.

Criminal Investigation Department Chief Neophytos Shailos revealed police were pursuing additional claims during a court hearing on Sunday.

Shailos told a court in Nicosia that the suspect had raped the woman in his car on the outskirts of the capital in early 2017 when he picked her up to supposedly give her the photographs.

Investigators are searching for bodies with a special camera in a man-made lake near the village of Mitsero outside of the capital Nicosia. Credit: AP

He said the 35-year-old army captain had videoed the alleged rape on his mobile phone.

The 19-year-old foreign woman had called the suspect's wife to tell her what had happened.

Shailos said investigators are trying to secure additional testimony from a female friend of the alleged victim, who has since left the island. He did not state her nationality.

The suspect, who represented himself and appeared in court wearing a bullet-proof vest, was detained for another eight days and he has not yet been named or charged.

Investigators are contacting people the suspect had talked to online since 2016, when he is thought to have killed the first victims, Romanian Livia Florentina Bunea and her eight-year-old daughter Elena Natalia.

The suspect has admitted to killing both and placing their bodies in suitcases, which he said the dumped in a toxic lake west of the capital.

Police appear to pull out a suitcase from the lake. Credit: AP

Authorities pulled a suitcase containing the decomposed remains of an adult woman from the lake. Crews are now using sonar equipment to scan the bottom of the lake to find over suitcases.

The suspect said he also disposed of the body of Maricar Valtez Arquiola, 31, from the Philippines, into the lake.

So far just two of the victims have been identified; have so far been positively identified; 38-year-old Mary Rose Tiburcio and Arian Palanas Lozano, 28, both from the Philippines. Their bodies were discovered in an abandoned mineshaft last month six days apart.

Authorities are also looking for the body of Tiburcio's six year-old daughter Sierra in another reservoir.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, who on Saturday called the suspect a "serial killer," last week apologized to diplomats of the countries of the victims and vowed to bolster protections for foreign workers in Cyprus.

Critics claim the police in Cyprus did not put much energy into the missing persons reports because the victims were low-paid foreign workers.