Romanian minister sacked over teen murder comments

Ecaterina Andronescu, Romania's former education ministerImage copyright

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Ecaterina Andronescu (pictured) was dismissed after a controversial remark about case of Alexandra Macesanu

Romania’s prime minister has fired her education minister over her “deeply wrong” comments about a kidnapping case.

Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said Ecaterina Andronescu’s remarks about a teen’s abduction show a “lack of understanding”.

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

Ms Andronescu said on TV she was taught “not to get in cars with strangers”.

The comments, Ms Dancila wrote in a Facebook post, were irresponsible, but Ms Andronescu 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.

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Alexandru Cumpanasu’s Facebook

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Alexandra 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.

On Tuesday, Alexandra’s uncle, Alexandru Cumpanasu, released what he said was a transcript of her calls to emergency number 112.

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.

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Romanian 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 during a search of Mr Dinca’s home but are yet to confirm whether they match the DNA of either Alexandra or Luiza.

The results of DNA tests are set to be announced next week, according to local media reports.

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Media captionProtesters chant “resign” at a rally following alleged mishandling of the case

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

On Friday, investigators said they had received preliminary forensics results, but would only release them pending further analysis.

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