A Macedonian journalist has been charged with murdering two elderly women — crimes he wrote about for his newspaper — and police said Sunday they were investigating his possible involvement in a third death.
Vlado Taneski was transferred to Tetovo prison Sunday after a court in the northwestern town of Gostivar ordered he be held for 30 days while police investigate, police spokesman Ivo Kotevski said. Taneski also was being questioned about a fourth woman who has gone missing, the spokesman said.
"Police have already filed charges for the murder of two women. The investigation for the other two cases is still under way," said Kotevski.
Police began to suspect Taneski, 56, after reading his articles about the crimes in the national daily Utrinski Vesnik and noticing details that had not been released to the public, Kotevski said. Since then, police have found Taneski's DNA on the bodies of two of the victims, the spokesman said.
Arrested Friday at his home
Taneski was arrested Friday at his home in the town of Kicevo, about 75 miles southwest of the Macedonian capital, Skopje. Police were searching his house as well as his cottage in a nearby village.
All of the victims were elderly women who worked as cleaners and lived in the same neighborhood of Kicevo, police said.
The three women's bodies were found naked and stuffed in nylon bags hidden in different locations, police said. They had been sexually and physically abused, strangled and wrapped with phone cables, said police.
The body of 65-year-old Zivana Temelkoska was found this year; the body of Ljubica Licoska, 56, in 2007, and that of Mitra Simjanoska, 64, in 2005, police said. The journalist has been formally charged with murdering Temelkoska and Simjanoska, and is being investigated regarding the death of Licoska.
Woman missing in 2003
Police also are searching for a 78-year-old woman who went missing in 2003, and suspect she, too, may have been a victim of Taneski, Kotevski said.
It was not immediately clear if Taneski had a defense lawyer.
Some of the victims' family members said they had met Taneski when he was preparing his articles about the crimes.
"He came to our home, we talked, he asked for details," said Zoran Temelkoski, son of slain Zivana Temelkoska told private TV station A1. He expressed outrage that Taneski might be involved in the killings. "Who could imagine that it would be our neighbor at the end," the son said.
Licoska's sister, Cvetanka, told A1 TV she was shocked that police had named him as a main suspect. "I'm very surprised with this outcome. He came to me and asked for some details for my sister. He came here and asked for my sister's photo," she said.