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Remains of six-year-old girl found in lake believed to be 7th victim of Cyprus serial killer

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Divers searching at the bottom of a lake have discovered the remains of what authorities believe to be a six year-old girl – the possible seventh victim of a serial killer in Cyprus.

It marked the closure of a two-month search operation for the victims of an army captain, who confessed to murdering seven foreign women and girls on April 25.  

The remains found in Cyprus on Wednesday are believed to be those of 6-year-old, Sierra Grace.

Fire Department Chief Marcos Trangolas said the remains, which were wrapped in a bed sheet and tied by rope to a cement block, were found among reeds six metres under the surface of the lake that was part of a former copper pyrite mine. 

Cyprus police personnel carry a stretcher after finding the remains of a young girl. (EPA)

He said divers had searched the exact spot where the 35-year-old suspect pointed to investigators earlier on Wednesday while on site.

Police have said they’ve found no evidence to suggest the suspect has killed anyone else, but investigators are still trying to track down anyone who had been in contact with him online. 

The army officer, who police haven’t formally identified yet, had been in contact with several of his victims through online chat rooms. He is widely acknowledged to be Cyprus’ first serial killer. 

Police officials stand next to a tent where divers brought up the remains. (AP)

The chance discovery of the body of Sierra Grace’s mother, Mary Rose Tiburcio, 38, down a flooded mineshaft on April 14 triggered an investigation that led to the suspect through his online communications with the Filipino woman with whom he had had a six-month relationship. 

The body of Arian Palanas Lozano, 28, also from the Philippines, was found down the same shaft six days later. 

The killings took place over two years starting in September 2016 with the disappearance of 36-year-old Romanian Livia Florentina Bunea, and her 8-year-old daughter Elena Natalia. 

Police at the scene (EPA)

Their bodies were found inside suitcases at the bottom of a toxic lake that was part of another copper pyrite mine.

Another body, believed to belong to Ahita Khadka Bista from Nepal, was found down a dry well in a military firing range. 

The suspect is due to appear in court Friday, but it’s unclear whether investigators will ask for another custody extension or formally charge him. 

Bunea and her daughter will be buried on Thursday in a village outside the capital Nicosia. 

The Cyprus government has said it will cover the funeral and burial expenses of all the victims.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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