Friday, December 4, 1998

Associated Press

Associated Press

p. A1.

Mom turned prostitute to hunt daughter's killer

SALONICA, Greece -- For Eleni Fotiadou, the official explanation was not enough.

To probe deeper into the death of her 20-year-old daughter, Fotiadou, a technician at a cellular biology lab shed her white coat for the miniskirts and high heels of a prostitute. The alter ego was part of a six-month search for the truth in the gritty back streets of this northern Greek port.

Finally, a prosecutor joined her in challenging the corone's report that Paraskevi Fotiadou died of a heroin overdose. Eight people are now under indictment on charges of rape and murder, authorities said. The suspects have not yet been captured.

In her guise as a prostitute, Fotiadou even allegedly slept with the man she believes to have killed her daughter.

Detective Stratos Bakirtzis, who helped her on the case, said is was the only way to infiltrate the group that has been placed under indictment.

"I started dressing like a prostitute and a junkie and going to places where I could get information. I was sure that my child was killed," Fotiadou, 44 told a news conference.

Her daughter, a marketing student, was sitting on a park bench with her sister in June. She said she was going to get a drink and never returned. The young woman was found two days later -- a used syringe at her side -- in a derelict building located in one of Salonica's blue-collar districts nearly five kilometres away.

"Although the man at the mortuary told us not to look at the body because the days had passed, we did," Fotiadou said. "The body was full of wounds."

Fotiadou refused to accept the explanation that her daughter was just another statistic in the dozens of deaths among junkies in Salonica, a Balkan crossroads with a teeming underclass fed by prostitution rings and drug smugglers from across Eastern Europe.

"My child's body was full of bruises, bumps and scrapes. ... Her jewellery was gone while her personal effects contained things that were not hers. Her clothes were torn off," which indicated that there was violence, Fotiadou said.

After getting what she called on indifferent response from police, she decided in August to take matters into her own hands.

She began hanging out with junkies and prostitutes, wearing a transmitter while the detective, Bakirtzis, videotaped from a distance.

Gossip, rumours and tips eventually led to eight men and women who she alleges were responsible for her daugher's death.

Fotiadou claims her daughter was accosted, drugged and taken to the home of one of the suspects. There, she was gang raped and killed, her body dumped in an empty building, Fotiadou alleges.

"We have cassettes where the hookers describe the method of murder," said Fotiadou's lawyer, Nikos Dialinas. "They name the people who murdered the girl."

The evidence was turned over to prosecutor Petros Patopoulos, who last week lodged the charges.

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Created: December 4, 1998
Last modified: December 4, 1998

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