Alexandra Macesanu murder: Minister sacked over ‘deeply wrong’ remarks

image copyrightEPA
image captionEcaterina Andronescu (pictured) was dismissed after a controversial remark about the case of Alexandra Macesanu

Romania's prime minister has fired her education minister over her "deeply wrong" comments about a kidnapping case.

In a TV interview earlier this week, Ecaterina Andronescu said she was taught "not to get in cars with strangers".

Alexandra Macesanu, 15, was abducted west of the capital, Bucharest, last Wednesday.

The suspect, 65-year-old Gheorghe Dinca, told police he killed Alexandra.

Forensic tests confirmed that Alexandra's DNA was found in human remains at Mr Dinca's home, investigators have said.

The Romanian Prime Minister, Viorica Dancila, said Ecaterina Andronescu's remarks about a teen's abduction show a "lack of understanding". Ms Andronescu has said she did not intend to blame the victim or her parents.

The education minister is the latest Romanian government official to lose her job over the case, which has caused public outcry.

Romania's police chief Ioan Buda has been sacked and interior minister Nicolae Moga has stepped down, but critics are demanding more resignations.

Authorities have been criticised for what is seen as their slow response to Alexandra's three emergency calls.

What happened to Alexandra?

Alexandra disappeared last Wednesday while hitchhiking to her home in the southern city of Caracal, police said.

image copyrightAlexandru Cumpanasu's Facebook
image captionAlexandra Macesanu, 15, called police three times during her kidnapping

Police waited for 19 hours to search the property where she was being held, by which time she was presumed dead.

In one conversation, she pleaded with an officer to "please stay with me on the line, I'm really scared", only to be told other calls were being dealt with, according to the transcript.

Who is the suspect?

Suspect Gheorghe Dinca, who is in custody, has told police he killed Alexandra.

The 65-year-old also admitted killing another teenage girl, 18-year-old Luiza Melencu, who has been missing since April.

image copyrightEPA
image captionRomanian police officers escort suspect Gheorghe Dinca (C) to his home for a search

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

Police found human remains, including blood stains and bones, during searches of Mr Dinca's home.

Initially, police did not rule out the possibility Alexandra was still alive.

But in a statement on Saturday, the organised crime unit leading the investigation said laboratory analysis so far found "the genetic profile of one person, Alexandra Macesanu".

Her uncle Alexandru Cumpanasu, who has been acting as a spokesman for the family, wrote on Facebook: "I couldn't save this wonderful child's life.

media captionProtesters chant "resign" at a rally in Romania over missing teen Alexandra Macesanu

Locals in Caracal, whose population is around 30,000, told AFP news agency that Alexandra's case has eroded their trust in authorities.

"I'm afraid to walk down the streets, you can imagine. We never saw such a thing in our town", a woman living near the suspect's house said.

Related Topics

More on this story