Crime reporter charged with murders he wrote kills himself

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The Independent Online

A Macedonian journalist charged with murdering two elderly women - crimes he wrote about for his paper - and being investigated in a third death has apparently killed himself in prison.

Vlado Taneski, 56, had been charged with two murders and was being investigated for the death of another woman and the disappearance of a fourth.

A court in the north-western town of Gostivar yesterday ordered Mr Taneski be held for 30 days pending enquiries. Mr Taneski, 56, is also being questioned about a fourth woman who is missing, police said.

A police spokesman said the journalist is believed to have committed suicide today, but an investigation was being conducted.

"He was found dead with his head in a bucket of water," he said. Two other prisoners were in the same cell.

Officers began to suspect him of the murders after reading his articles about the crimes in the national daily Utrinski Vesnik and noticed details which had not been publicly released. Mr Taneski was arrested at his home at his home in the town of Kicevo, about 75 miles (120km) south-west of the Macedonian capital, Skopje. Detectives said they have found his DNA on the bodies.

All of the victims were elderly women who worked as cleaners and lived in the same neighborhood of Kicevo. The three bodies were found naked and stuffed in nylon bags hidden in different places. They had been sexually and physically abused, strangled and wrapped with phone cables.

The body of 65-year-old Zivana Temelkoska, 65, was discovered this year; the body of Ljubica Licoska, 56, was found in 2007, and that of Mitra Simjanoska, 64, in 2005. Police are also seeking a 78-year-old woman who went missing in 2003, and suspect she also may have been a victim.

Shocked members of the victims' families said they had given Mr Taneski details and photographs when he was covering the story for his newspaper.

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