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Suspect admits killing missing Romanian teenager

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Romanian police officers escort suspect Gheorghe Dinca (C) to his home for a search of the property in relation to the kidnapping of a 15-year-old girl in the southern city of Caracal, Romania, 27 July 2019Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

Gheorghe Dinca (centre) was taken by police to his home as they carried out a search

A man questioned in Romania over the disappearance of a 15-year-old girl has admitted killing her and another teenager, according to his lawyer.

Suspect Gheorghe Dinca, 65, told police he had killed Alexandra Macesanu, who went missing on Wednesday, and 18-year-old Luiza Melencu, missing since April.

Alexandra’s case led to a public outcry after it emerged she had made three calls to police during her kidnapping.

Romania’s chief of police was sacked over his handling of the case.

Mr Dinca’s lawyer, Alexandru Bogdan, told Romania’s national news agency Agerpres on Sunday that his client had “confessed [to] his crimes”.

“My client has said that the two teenagers went with him voluntarily, but that in both cases a conflict erupted shortly afterwards and he hit them, the blows causing their deaths,” Mr Bogdan said.

During a search of Mr Dinca’s home at the weekend, police found human remains and jewellery belonging to Alexandra.

On Saturday, thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of the capital, Bucharest, chanting “incompetence” and calling for more government sackings over the case.

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Media captionProtesters chant “resign” at a rally in Romania over missing teen Alexandra Macesanu

Alexandra’s family has accused officials of failing to take her phone calls seriously until it was too late.

The parents of Luiza, who reportedly disappeared under similar circumstances in the same area three months ago, also accused the police of failings.

Protesters offered support to the families of the victims over the weekend, lighting candles and placing flowers at a memorial outside Romania’s interior ministry.

What happened to Alexandra?

Alexandra disappeared on Wednesday after trying to hitchhike to her home in the southern city of Caracal, police said.

On Thursday morning, she called the emergency 112 hotline three times and said she had been abducted by a car driver, the AFP news agency reported.

Police chief Ioan Buda – who has now been sacked – said that Alexandra yelled “he’s coming, he’s coming”, before the call disconnected.

Authorities said they initially struggled to trace the location of her call and searched three buildings before identifying the house at 03:00 (00:00 GMT) on Friday.

Police then applied for a search warrant – even though it was not legally required – and waited until the morning to enter the house.

They did not search the property until 19 hours after Alexandra’s final emergency call.

Police said they suspected the human remains found at the property – which were sent for testing – belonged to the girls.



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