'Serial murder' journalist commits suicide

A journalist being held on suspicion of murdering at least two women in crimes he wrote about for his newspaper has been found dead in his cell in Macedonia.

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

On Sunday, a court ordered him to be held on remand for 30 days pending the conclusion of the inquiry. He is believed to have committed suicide by drowning himself in a bucket of water.

Police had become suspicious after Mr Taneski, a national newspaper reporter, published articles about the murders which contained details of the crimes that detectives had not released to the public.

He was arrested on Friday at his home in the town of Kicevo, 75 miles south-west of the capital, Skopje. Police were searching his house and his cottage in a nearby village yesterday.

All three murder victims were elderly cleaning women who worked and lived in the same area of Kicevo. Their naked bodies were found stuffed into nylon bags hidden in different locations.

They had been sexually and physically assaulted, strangled and wrapped up with telephone cables, police said.

The remains of Zivana Temelkoska, 65, were found this year; Ljubica Licoska, 56, was found dead last year and Mitra Simjanoska, 64, in 2005. Officers are also searching for a woman of 78 who went missing in 2003 and suspect she also may have been a victim.

Some victims' relatives said they had met Mr Taneski when he was working on his articles about the crimes. "He came to our home, we talked and he asked for details," Mrs Temelkoska's son, Zoran, told a local television network. "Who could imagine that it would be our neighbour in the end?"

Ms Licoska's sister, Cvetanka, said she was shocked that police had named the journalist as the main suspect. "I am very surprised with this outcome," she added. "He came to me and asked for some details about my sister."

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