Alexandr Bukhanovsky, a noted psychiatrist, was given access to all the case files. Bukhanovsky then produced a sixty-five page psychological profile of the as-yet unknown killer, the first of its kind in Soviet Russia. One of the key traits in the profile was that the murderer most likely suffered from impotence, and could only achieve arousal by killing; the knife, according to Bukhanovsky, was a substitute penis.
Chikatilo continued to kill for the next several years. Because many of the victims' remains had been discovered near train stations, Kostoyev deployed both undercover and uniformed officers along miles and miles of rail lines, beginning in October In November, Chikatilo murdered Svetlana Korostik; he was observed by a plainclothes officer as he approached the railway station and washed his hands in a nearby well.
In addition, he had grass and dirt on his clothes, and a small wound on his face. Although the officer spoke to Chikatilo, he had no reason to arrest him, and let him go. Korostik's body was found nearby a week later. Police placed Chikatilo under surveillance, and saw him continuing to attempt conversations with children and single women at rail stations. On November 20, they arrested him, and Kostoyev began interrogating him. Although Chikatilo repeatedly denied any involvement in the murders, he did write several essays while in custody that were consistent with the personality profile described by Bukhanovsky five years before.
Finally, police brought Bukhanovsky himself in to talk to Chikatilo, since Kostoyev was getting nowhere. Bukhanovsky read Chikatilo excerpts from the profile, and within two hours, he had a confession. Over the next few days, Chikatilo would confess , in horrifying detail, to thirty-four murders.
He later admitted to an additional twenty-two which investigators had not realized were connected. In , Chikatilo was formally charged with 53 counts of murder , and was found guilty of 52 of them. In February , Andrei Chikatilo, the Butcher of Rostov, was executed for his crimes with a single gunshot to the head. Share Flipboard Email. Government U. Foreign Policy U. Liberal Politics U. Patti Wigington is a pagan author, educator, and licensed clergy. Following his release, Chikatilo found work as a travelling buyer for a train company, based in Novocherkassk, and managed to keep a low profile until August , when he murdered two women in separate incidents.
Desperate to catch the killer, Burakov even interviewed a serial killer, Anatoly Slivko, shortly before his execution, in an attempt to gain some insight into his elusive serial killer. Coinciding with this attempt to understand the mind of the killer, attacks seemed to dry up, and police suspected that their target might have stopped killing, been incarcerated for other crimes, or died.
However, early in , Chikatilo again resumed his killing, the majority occurring away from the Rostov area, and victims were no longer taken from local public transport outlets, as police surveillance of these areas continued. Over the next two years the body count increased by a further 19 victims, and it appeared that the killer was taking increasing risks, focussing primarily on young boys, and often killing in public places where the risk of detection was far higher.
Chikatilo evaded capture narrowly, on a couple of occasions, but on 6th November , fresh from killing his final victim, Sveta Korostik, his suspicious behaviour was noted by patrolling policemen at the station nearby, and his details were taken. His name was linked to his previous arrest in , and he was placed under surveillance.
The Arrest. Chikatilo was arrested on 20th November , following more suspicious behaviour, but he refused at first to confess to any of the killings. Burakov decided to allow the psychiatrist, Bukhanovski, who had prepared the original profile, to talk to Chikatilo, under the guise of trying to understand the mind of a killer from a scientific context. Chikatilo, clearly flattered by this approach, opened up to the psychiatrist, providing extensive details of all of his killings, and even leading police to the site of bodies previously undiscovered. He claimed to have taken the lives of 56 victims, although only 53 of these could be independently verified.
This figure was far in excess of the 36 cases that the police had initially attributed to their serial killer. The Trial. Having been declared sane and fit to stand trial, Chikatilo went to court on 14th April , and throughout the trial he was held in an iron cage designed to keep him apart from the relatives of his many victims.
The Aftermath. The psychiatrist who had been instrumental in his capture, Aleksandr Bukhanovski, went on to become a celebrated expert on sexual disorders and serial killers. He was convicted of 52 murders in October although he did confess to a total of 56 murders and was tried for 53 of these killings and was subsequently executed for the murders for which he was convicted in February, He was born soon after the famine in Ukraine caused by Joseph Stalin's forced collectivisation of agriculture.
Ukrainian farmers were forced to hand in their entire crop for statewide distribution. Mass starvation ran rampant throughout Ukraine, and reports of cannibalism soared. Chikatilo's mother, Anna, told him that his older brother Stepan had been kidnapped and cannibalized by starving neighbors, although it has never been independently established whether this actually happened. Chikatilo's parents were both farm labourers who lived in a one-room hut.
As a child, Chikatilo slept on a single bed with his parents. He was a chronic bed wetter and was berated and beaten by his mother for each offense. During the war, Chikatilo witnessed some of the effects of Blitzkrieg, which both frightened and excited him. On one occasion, Chikatilo and his mother were forced to watch their hut burn to the ground. In , while Chikatilo's father was at the front, Chikatilo's mother gave birth to a baby girl.
In , Chikatilo's father, who had been liberated by the Americans, returned home. Instead of being rewarded for his war service, he was branded a traitor for surrendering to the Germans. Shy and studious as a child, Chikatilo was an avid reader of Communist literature. He was also a target for bullying by his peers.
During adolescence, he discovered that he suffered from chronic impotence, worsening his social awkwardness and self-hatred. Chikatilo was shy in the company of females: his only sexual experience as a teenager was when he, aged 17, jumped on an year-old friend of his younger sister and wrestled her to the ground, ejaculating as the girl struggled in his grasp.
In , Chikatilo finished school and applied for a scholarship at the Moscow State University; although he passed the entrance examination, his grades were not good enough for acceptance. Between and , Chikatilo performed his compulsory military service. Marriage and teaching career. In , Chikatilo married a woman to whom he was introduced by his younger sister. The couple had a son and daughter. Chikatilo later claimed that his marital sex life was minimal and that, after his wife understood that he was unable to maintain an erection, he and his wife agreed that in order that she could conceive, he would ejaculate externally and push his semen inside her vagina with his fingers.
In , their daughter Ludmila was born, followed by son Yuri in In , Chikatilo completed a correspondence course in Russian literature and obtained his degree in the subject from Rostov University. Chikatilo began his career as a teacher of Russian language and literature in Novoshakhtinsk. His career as a teacher ended in March after several complaints of child molestation against pupils of both sexes. Chikatilo eventually took a job as a supply clerk for a factory. In September , Chikatilo moved to Shakhty, a small coal mining town near Rostov-on-Don, where he committed his first documented murder.
On December 22, he lured a 9-year-old girl named Yelena Zakotnova to an old house which he had secretly purchased; he attempted to rape her, but failed to achieve an erection. When the girl struggled, he choked her to death and stabbed her body, ejaculating in the process of knifing the child. Chikatilo then dumped Zakotnova's body in a nearby river. Despite evidence linking Chikatilo to the girl's death spots of the girl's blood were found in the snow near Chikatilo's house and a witness had given police a detailed description of a man closely resembling Chikatilo who she had seen talking with Zakotnova at the bus stop where the girl was last seen alive , a year-old named Alexsandr Kravchenko who, as a teenager, had served a jail sentence for the rape and murder of a teenage girl, was arrested for the crime and subsequently confessed to the killing.
He was tried for the murder in At his trial, Kravchenko retracted his confession and maintained his innocence, stating his confession had been obtained under extreme duress. Despite his retraction, he was convicted of the murder and sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment the maximum possible length of imprisonment at that time. Under pressure from the victim's relatives, Kravchenko was retried and eventually executed for the murder of Lena Zakotnova in July, Following Zakotnova's murder, Chikatilo was only able to achieve sexual arousal and orgasm through stabbing and slashing women and children to death, and he later stated the urge to relive the experience overwhelmed him.
Chikatilo committed his next murder in September , when he tried to have sex with a year-old boarding school student named Larisa Tkachenko in a forest near the Don river. When Chikatilo failed to achieve an erection, he became furious and battered and strangled her to death. As he had no knife, he mutilated her body with his teeth and a stick. Following Biryuk's murder, Chikatilo no longer attempted to resist his homicidal urges: between July and December, , he killed a further six victims between the ages of nine and nineteen.
He established a pattern of approaching children, runaways and young vagrants at bus or railway stations, enticing them to a nearby forest or other secluded area and killing them, usually by stabbing, slashing and eviscerating the victim with a knife; although some victims, in addition to receiving a multitude of knife wounds, were also strangled or battered to death.
Many of the bodies found bore striations of the eye sockets. Pathologists concluded the injuries were caused by a knife, leading investigators to the conclusion the killer had gouged out the eyes of his victims. Chikatilo's adult female victims were often prostitutes or homeless women who could be lured to secluded areas with promises of alcohol or money.
Chikatilo would typically attempt intercourse with these victims, but he would usually be unable to get an erection, which would send him into a murderous fury, particularly if the woman mocked his impotence. He would achieve orgasm only when he stabbed the victim to death. His child victims were of both sexes; Chikatilo would lure these victims to secluded areas using a variety of ruses, usually formed in the initial conversation with the victim, such as promising them assistance or company; with the offer to show the victim a shortcut; a chance to view rare stamps, films or coins or with an offer of food or candy.
He would usually overpower these victims once they were alone, tie their hands behind their backs with a length of rope, and then proceed to kill them. Chikatilo did not kill again until June , but he had killed five more times before September. The accumulation of bodies and the similarities between the pattern of wounds inflicted on the victims forced the Soviet authorities to acknowledge a serial killer was on the loose: on September 6, , the Public Prosecutor of the USSR formally linked six of the murders thus far committed to the same killer.
Fetisov centered the investigations around Shakhty and assigned a specialist forensic analyst, Victor Burakov, to head the investigation. Due to the sheer savagery of the murders, much of the police effort concentrated on mentally ill citizens, homosexuals, known pedophiles and sex offenders, slowly working through all that were known and eliminating them from the inquiry.
A number of young men confessed to the murders, although they were usually mentally handicapped youths who had admitted to the crimes only under prolonged and often brutal interrogation. Three known homosexuals and a convicted sex offender committed suicide as a result of the investigators' heavy-handed tactics, but as police obtained confessions from suspects, bodies continued to be discovered proving the suspects who had previously confessed could not be the killer the police were seeking: in October , Chikatilo killed a year-old prostitute, and in December a year-old schoolboy named Sergey Markov.
On March 24, he lured a year-old boy named Dmitry Ptashnikov away from a stamp kiosk in Novoshakhtinsk. While walking with the boy, Chikatilo was seen by several witnesses who were able to give investigators a detailed description of the killer; when Ptashnikov's body was found three days later, police also found a footprint of the killer and semen and saliva samples on the victim's clothing. On May 25, Chikatilo killed a young woman, Tatyana Petrosyan and her year-old daughter, Svetlana, in woodland outside Shakhty. Petrosyan had known Chikatilo for several years prior to her murder.
By July 19, he had killed three further young women between the ages of 19 and 22 and a year-old boy. In the summer of , Chikatilo was fired from his work as a supply clerk for theft of property. The accusation had been filed against Chikatilo the previous February and he had been asked to resign quietly but had refused to do so as he had denied the charges.
Chikatilo found another job as a supply clerk in Rostov on August 1. On August 2, Chikatilo killed a year-old girl, Natalya Golosovskaya, in Aviators' Park and on August 7, he killed a year-old girl on the banks of the Don River before flying to the Uzbekistan capital of Tashkent on a business trip. By the time Chikatilo returned to Rostov on August 15, he had killed a young woman and a year-old girl. Within two weeks an year-old boy had been found strangled, castrated and with his eyes gouged out in Rostov before a young librarian, Irina Luchinskaya, was killed in Rostov's Aviators' Park on September 6.
On September 13, , exactly one week after his fifteenth killing of the year, Chikatilo was observed by an undercover detective attempting to lure young women away from a Rostov bus station. He was arrested and held.
A search of his belongings revealed a knife and rope. He was also discovered to be under investigation for minor theft at one of his former employers, which gave the investigators the legal right to hold him for a prolonged period of time. Chikatilo's dubious background was uncovered, and his physical description matched the description of the man seen with Dmitry Ptashnikov in March. These factors provided insufficient evidence to convict him of the murders, however. He was found guilty of the theft of the property from his previous employer and sentenced to one year in prison.
He was freed on December 12, , after serving three months. On October 8, , the head of the Russian Public Prosecutors Office formally linked 23 of Chikatilo's murders into one case, and dropped all charges against the mentally handicapped youths who had previously confessed to the murders. Following the September 6 murder of Irina Luchinskaya, no further bodies were found bearing the trademark mutilation of Chikatilo's murders and investigators in Rostov theorized that the unknown killer may have moved to another part of the Soviet Union and had continued killing there.
The Rostov police sent bulletins to all forces throughout the Soviet Union, describing the network of wounds their unknown killer inflicted upon his victims and requesting feedback from any police force who had discovered murder victims with wounds matching those upon the victims found in the Rostov Oblast. The response was negative: no other police force had found murder victims with wounds matching those upon the description within the bulletin. Late murders and the manhunt. Upon his release from jail, Chikatilo found new work in Novocherkassk and kept a low profile.
The Minds of Serial Killers and how They Work
He did not kill again until July 31, , when he murdered a young woman near Domodedovo Airport, near Moscow. One month later, Chikatilo killed another woman in Shakhty.
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Both victims were linked to the hunt for the killer. In November , a special procurator named Issa Kostoyev was appointed to supervise the investigation. The known murders around Rostov were carefully re-investigated and police began another round of questioning of known sex offenders. The following month, the militsiya and Voluntary People's Druzhina renewed the patrolling of railway stations around Rostov. The police also took the step of consulting a psychiatrist, Dr. Alexandr Bukhanovsky, the first such consultation in a serial killer investigation in the Soviet Union.
Bukhanovsky produced a page psychological profile of the unknown killer for the investigators, describing the killer as a man aged between 45 and 50 years old who was of average intelligence, was likely to be married or had previously been married, but who was also a sadist who could only achieve sexual arousal by seeing his victims suffer.
Bukhanovsky also argued that because many of the killings had occurred on weekdays near mass transportation and across the entire Rostov Oblast, that the killer's work required him to travel regularly, and based upon the actual days of the week when the killings had occurred, the killer was most likely tied to a production schedule. Chikatilo followed the investigation carefully, reading newspaper reports about the manhunt for the killer and keeping his homicidal urges under control; throughout he is not known to have committed any murders.
In Chikatilo killed three times; on each occasion he killed while on a business trip far away from the Rostov Oblast and none of these murders were linked to the manhunt in Rostov. Chikatilo's first murder in was committed in May, when he killed a year-old boy named Oleg Makarenkov in Revda. In July, he killed another boy in Zaporozhye and a third in Leningrad in September. In , Chikatilo killed three times, murdering an unidentified woman in Krasny-Sulin in April and two boys in May and July. His first killing bore wounds similar to those inflicted on the victims linked to the manhunt killed between and , but as the woman had been killed with a slab of concrete, investigators were unsure whether to link the murder to the investigation.
In May Chikatilo killed a 9-year-old boy in Ilovaisk, Ukraine. The boy's wounds left no doubt the killer had struck again, and this murder was linked to the manhunt. Muratov's murder was also linked to the investigation, although his body was not found until April Chikatilo did not kill again until March 8, , when he killed a year-old girl in his daughter's vacant apartment.
He dismembered her body and hid the remains in a sewer. As the victim had been dismembered, police did not link her murder to the investigation. Between May and August, Chikatilo killed a further four victims, three of whom were killed in Rostov and Shakhty, although only two of the victims were linked to the killer. On January 14, , Chikatilo killed an year-old boy in Shakhty. The eviscerated body was found the following day. On March 11, the leaders of the investigation, headed by Mikhail Fetisov, held a meeting to discuss progress made in the hunt for the killer.
Fetisov was under intense pressure from the public, the press and the Ministry of the Interior in Moscow to solve the case: the intensity of the manhunt in the years up to had receded to a degree between and , when Chikatilo had killed only two victims conclusively linked to the killer — both of them in By March , six further victims had been linked to the killer. Fetisov had noted laxity in some areas of the investigation, and warned people would be fired if the killer was not caught soon.
Chikatilo had killed three further victims by August On April 4, he killed a year-old woman in woodland near Donleskhoz station, on July 28, he lured a year-old boy away from a Rostov train station and killed him in Rostov Botanical Gardens and on August 14, he killed an year-old boy in the reeds near Novocherkassk beach. The discovery of more victims sparked a massive operation by the police; as several victims had been found at stations on one rail route through the Rostov Oblast, Viktor Burakov — who had been involved in the hunt for the killer since — suggested a plan to saturate all larger stations in the Rostov Oblast with an obvious uniformed police presence the killer could not fail to notice, with the intention to discourage the killer from attempting to strike at any of these locations, and with smaller and less busy stations patrolled by undercover agents, where his activities would be more likely to be noticed.
The plan was approved, and both the uniformed and undercover officers were instructed to question any adult man in the company of a young woman or child and note their name and passport number. Police deployed men at all the stations in the Rostov Oblast, and only undercover officers at the three smallest stations — Kirpichnaya, Donleskhoz and Lesostep — on the route through the oblast where the killer had struck most frequently, in an effort to force the killer to strike at one of these three stations.
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The operation was implemented on October 27, Gromov had been killed on October 17, 10 days prior to the implementation of the initiative. The same day Gromov's body was found, Chikatilo lured another year-old boy, Viktor Tishchenko, off a train at Kirpichnaya Station, another station under surveillance from undercover police and killed him in a nearby forest. On November 6, , Chikatilo killed and mutilated a year-old woman named Sveta Korostik in woodland near Donleskhoz Station.
While leaving the crime scene, he was seen by an undercover officer.
The policeman observed Chikatilo approach a well and wash his hands and face. When he approached the station, the undercover officer noted his coat had grass and soil stains at the elbows. Chikatilo also had a small red smear on his cheek. To the officer, he looked suspicious.
The only reason people entered woodland near the station at that time of year was to gather wild mushrooms a popular pastime in Russia.
Chikatilo, however, was not dressed like a typical forest hiker; he was wearing more formal attire. Moreover, he had a nylon sports bag, which was not suitable for carrying mushrooms. The policeman stopped Chikatilo and checked his papers. Having no formal reason for arrest, Chikatilo was not held. When the policeman came back to his office, he filed a formal routine report, indicating the name of the person he stopped at the train station.
On November 13, Korostik's body was found. Police summoned the officer in charge of surveillance at Donleskhoz Station and examined the reports of all men stopped and questioned in the previous week. Chikatilo's name was among those reports and his name was familiar to several officers involved in the case, having been questioned in and placed on the suspect list. Upon checking with Chikatilo's present and previous employers, investigators were able to place Chikatilo in various towns and cities at times when several victims linked to the investigation had been killed.
Former colleagues from Chikatilo's teaching days informed investigators Chikatilo had been forced to resign from his teaching position due to complaints of sexual assault from several pupils. Police placed Chikatilo under surveillance on November In several instances, particularly on trains or buses, he was observed to approach lone young women or children and engage them in conversation; if the woman or child broke off the conversation, Chikatilo would wait a few minutes then seek another conversation partner.
On November 20, after six days of surveillance, Chikatilo left his house with a one gallon flask for beer, then wandered around Novocherkassk, attempting to make contact with children he met on his way. Upon exiting a cafe, Chikatilo was arrested by four plainclothes police officers. Upon arrest, Chikatilo gave a statement claiming the suspicion against him was a mistake, and complained he had also been arrested in for the same series of murders.
Medical examiners concluded the wound was, in fact, from a human bite. Chikatilo's penultimate victim was a physically strong year-old youth. At the crime scene, the police had found numerous signs of a ferocious physical struggle between the victim and his murderer. Although a finger bone was later found to be broken and his fingernail had been bitten off, Chikatilo had never sought medical attention for the wound.
A search of Chikatilo's belongings revealed he had been in possession of a folding knife at the time of his arrest. Chikatilo was placed in a cell inside the KGB headquarters in Rostov with a police informer, who was instructed to engage Chikatilo in conversation and elicit any information he could from him. The next day, 21 November, formal questioning of Chikatilo began. The interrogation of Chikatilo was performed by Issa Kostoyev. The strategy chosen by the police to elicit a confession was to lead Chikatilo to believe he was a very sick man in need of medical help.
The intention of this strategy was to give Chikatilo hope that if he confessed, he would not be prosecuted by reason of insanity. Police knew their case against Chikatilo was largely circumstantial, and under Soviet law, they had ten days in which they could legally hold a suspect before either charging or releasing him.
Throughout the questioning, Chikatilo repeatedly denied he had committed the murders, although he did confess to molesting his pupils during his career as a teacher. He also produced several written essays for Kostoyev which, although evasive regarding the actual murders, did reveal psychological symptoms consistent with those written by Dr.
Bukhanovsky in The interrogation tactics used by Kostoyev may also have caused Chikatilo to become defensive: the informer sharing a KGB cell with Chikatilo reported to police that Chikatilo had informed him Kostoyev repeatedly asked him direct questions regarding the mutilations inflicted upon the victims.
On November 29, at the request of Burakov and Fetisov, Dr. Aleksandr Bukhanovsky, the psychiatrist who had written the psychological profile of the then-unknown killer for the investigators, was invited to assist in the questioning of the suspect. Bukhanovsky read extracts from his page psychological profile to Chikatilo. Within two hours, Chikatilo confessed to 36 murders police had linked to the killer: although he denied two additional murders the police had initially linked to him.
On November 30, he was formally charged with each of these 36 murders, all of which had been committed between June and November, Chikatilo confessed to a further 20 killings which had not been connected to the case, either because the murders had been committed outside the Rostov Oblast, because the bodies had not been found or, in the case of Yelena Zakotnova, because an innocent man had been convicted and executed for the murder. In December , Chikatilo led police to the body of Alexey Khobotov, a boy he had confessed to killing in and whom he had buried in woodland near a Shakhty cemetery, proving unequivocally he was the killer.
He later led investigators to the bodies of two other victims he had confessed to killing. Three of the 56 victims Chikatilo confessed to killing could not be found or identified, but Chikatilo was charged with killing 53 women and children between and He was held in the same cell in Rostov-on-Don where he had been detained on November 20, to await trial.
On August 20, , after completing the interrogation of Chikatilo and having completed a re-enactment of all the murders at each crime scene, Chikatilo was transferred to the Serbsky Institute in Moscow for a six-day psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he was mentally competent to stand trial.
Chikatilo was analysed by a senior psychiatrist, Dr. Andrei Tkachenko, who declared him legally sane on October In December , details of Chikatilo's arrest and a brief summary of his crimes was released to the newly-liberated media by police. The trial of Andrei Chikatilo was the first major event of post-Soviet Russia. Chikatilo stood trial in Rostov on April 14, During the trial, he was kept in an iron cage in a corner of the courtroom to protect him from attack by the many hysterical and enraged relatives of his victims.
Chikatilo's head had been shaven — a standard prison precaution against lice. Relatives of victims regularly shouted threats and insults to Chikatilo throughout the trial, demanding that authorities release him so that they could kill him themselves. Each murder was discussed individually, and on several occasions, relatives broke down in tears when details of their relatives' murder were revealed; some even fainted.
Chikatilo regularly interrupted the trial, exposing himself, singing, and refusing to answer questions put to him by the judge. He was regularly removed from the courtroom for interrupting the proceedings. On May 13, Chikatilo withdrew his confessions to six of the killings to which he had previously confessed. In July , Chikatilo demanded that the judge be replaced for making too many rash remarks about his guilt. His defense counsel backed the claim.
The judge looked to the prosecutor and even the prosecutor backed the defense's judgment, stating the judge had indeed made too many such remarks. The judge ruled the prosecutor be replaced instead. On August 9, both prosecution and defense delivered their final arguments before the judge. Chikatilo again attempted to interrupt the proceedings and had to be removed from the courtroom. Final sentence was postponed until October As the final deliberations began, the brother of Lyudmila Alekseyeva, a year-old girl killed by Chikatilo in August , threw a heavy chunk of metal at Chikatilo, hitting him in the chest.
When security tried to arrest the young man, other victims' relatives shielded him, preventing him from being arrested. On October 14, the court reconvened and the judge read the list of murders again, not finishing until the following day. On October 15, Chikatilo was found guilty of 52 of the 53 murders and sentenced to death for each offense.
Chikatilo kicked his bench across his cage when he heard the verdict, and began shouting abuse. He was offered a final chance to make a speech in response to the verdict, but remained silent. Upon passing final sentence, Judge Leonid Akhobzyanov made the following speech:. I therefore sentence him to death". On February 14, Chikatilo was taken to a soundproofed room in Novocherkassk prison and executed by a single gunshot behind the right ear.
Alexandr Bukhanovsky. Factual books. Child 44 , a novel by Tom Rob Smith, draws heavily on the Chikatilo story, with the events set several decades earlier during the time of Joseph Stalin and immediately thereafter. Andrei Chikatilo: The Heart of a Monster. Late in the afternoon of December 22, , in the small coal-mining town of Shakhty, southern Russia, Svetlana Gurenkova sat waiting for a streetcar to take her home.
As she waited in the cold, her attention was drawn to a plump young girl who stood a short distance from her. The girl, who couldn't have been more than ten, was wearing a distinctive red coat with a hood trimmed in black fur. As further protection against the cold, she wore a brown rabbit-fur cap and a woollen scarf. What attracted Svetlana's attention wasn't so much the girl or her clothing but the man she was with. He was a tall, grey-haired man in his forties wearing a long black overcoat and carrying a shopping bag. The man had a long face and nose and wore oversized glasses.
It wasn't his appearance that made her suspicious, it was the way the man was looking at the young girl and whispering to her. The girl didn't seem to know him but still seemed interested in what he had to say. Sometime later the man walked away. The girl followed shortly after, looking happy and content. As Svetlana watched them walk away, her streetcar arrived and she lost sight of them.
The young girl's name was Lena Zakotnova, a bright, happy nine-year-old who was on her way home from school when she met the man at the trolley stop. She had told a school friend earlier that she might be getting some "imported" chewing gum from a "nice old man" that she'd met.
Perhaps that was what enticed her to go with the man to his "secret house," a small run-down shack, a short walk from the trolley stop. Shortly after reaching their destination, the man unlocked the door of the shack and switched on the light before leading the girl inside, locking the door behind them.
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Once inside, the man wasted no time in pushing her to the floor and removing her coat and panties. As she began to scream, he pressed his forearm across her throat and leaned his body weight against her until she lay still. Her eyes were still open, so he blindfolded her with her scarf before attempting to have sex with her.
Unable to achieve an erection, he began to violate the girls genitals with his fingers, finding that the attack stimulated him to orgasm like never before. As he continued with his assault, the girl began wriggling under him, struggling to draw breath through her damaged throat. Concerned that the girl would report him for what he'd done, he produced a knife and stabbed her three times in the stomach.
When she lay still, the man picked up her body and belongings and left the house, heading across a vacant lot to the Grushevka River. In his haste to leave, he failed to notice two things. The blood of his victim that had dripped onto the doorstep and the light that he had left burning. Upon reaching the river he hurled her body into the freezing water and watched it disappear downstream.
Throwing her school bag after her, he turned and headed for home, not realising that the girl was still alive. A Likely Suspect. The following day, after Lena's body was discovered floating in the river, Svetlana Gurenkova told police at the scene that she had seen the girl at the tram stop with a tall, thin, middle-aged man who wore glasses and a black overcoat. A police artist was summoned and a sketch of the man prepared.
Later the same evening, the Shahkty police arrested Alexsandr Kravchenko, a local man who had previously served six years of a ten-year prison sentence, for the rape and murder of a seventeen-year-old girl in At the time of his arrest, Kravchenko was twenty-five and had never worn glasses. While Kravchenko was being questioned, the sketch of the suspect that Gurenkova had described was circulated throughout the town.
One man that it was shown to was the principal of a local mining school. After looking closely at the drawing he told police that it closely resembled one of his teachers, Andrei Chikatilo. He was warned by police not to tell anyone that he had made an identification. Later, as two other detectives searched the streets that bordered the river, they found splashes of blood on the steps of a small shack. They also noticed that an interior light had been left on. When inquiries with neighbours revealed that the building was the property of Andrei Chikatilo, the police called him in for questioning but released him shortly after when his wife confirmed his story that he had been home with her the entire evening.
Even though the evidence against Chikatilo was strong, police considered Kravchenko a more viable suspect and eventually managed to obtain a "confession" from him. After a short trial Kravchenko was found guilty of the murder of Lena Zakotnova and sentenced to fifteen years in a labour camp.
Hearing the verdict, the people of Shahkty lodged an official complaint against the leniency of the sentence. A new judge appointed to investigate the complaint upheld the public appeal and passed a death sentence on Kravchenko. By the time the sentence was carried out in , over a dozen women and children had fallen victim to the real killer.
Had the police taken the time to further investigate Andrei Chikatilo's involvement instead of implicating an innocent man, they would have prevented one of the most brutal and despicable series of murders in criminal history. Comrade Chikatilo. Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo was born on the 6th of October in Yablochnoye, a small Ukrainian farming village.
Being born in the midst of Josef Stalin's campaign to communise rural land by force meant that Andrei was introduced to death and destruction at a young age. At the age of five, his mother told Andrei that, seven years earlier, his older brother Stephan had disappeared and the family believed that he had been kidnapped and eaten by neighbours. The story had a profound effect on the boy who later admitted that he often imagined what had been done to his brother. Several years later when World War Two broke out, Chikatilo's father, Roman, was conscripted into the army.
Captured by the Germans, he did not return home until well after the war when he was branded by the Stalinist regime as a traitor for "allowing himself to be caught. From the beginning, Andrei was a scholarly child who spent more time reading than playing with friends. He was particularly attracted to any books about the Russian partisans who fought the Germans. One in particular told the story of how the partisans had captured several German prisoners and had taken them to a forest and tortured them.
Because of his quiet ways and an almost effeminate demeanour, Chikatilo had few friends and was constantly teased. He was extremely near-sighted, but because he feared that wearing glasses would lead to more teasing, he refused to admit that he needed them. It would be nearly twenty years before he wore his first pair. One other fact that he took great pains to hide was that he was a chronic bed-wetter. When he reached his teens, much of the teasing stopped. He grew taller and stronger and became known as an avid reader with an excellent memory.
By the time he was sixteen, he was the editor of the school newspaper and the political information officer, a role that gave him additional prestige. While his political life developed, his social skills were virtually non-existent, especially with females. When he turned eighteen, Chikatilo applied to Moscow University to study law. He failed the entrance exam, but blamed his rejection on his father's humiliating war record. As he matured he became more confident with women, but several early attempts at sex failed when he was unable to achieve an erection. Convinced that he was impotent, he became obsessed with masturbation.
Sometime later, while on national service, he attempted to have sex with a woman who was not interested in his advances. As the woman struggled, Chikatilo overpowered her only to release her shortly after when he realised that he had ejaculated inside his pants. Inadvertently he had discovered that fear and violence excited him more than the sexual act itself. Some years after completing his national service, he moved to Russia in search of work. He quickly found a job as a telephone engineer in a small town called Rodionovo-Nesvetayevsky, just north of Rostov.
When he had saved enough money, he sent for his parents and his sister and moved them into his new home. He failed his entrance exam to Moscow State University, and a spell of National Service was followed by a move to Rodionovo-Nesvetayevsky, a town near Rostov, in , where he became a telephone engineer. His younger sister moved in with him and, concerned by his lack of success with the opposite sex, she engineered a meeting with a local girl, Fayina, whom he went on to marry in Despite his sexual problems, and lack of interest in conventional sex, they produced two children, and lived an outwardly normal family life.
In Chikatilo changed careers to become a schoolteacher. A string of complaints about indecent assaults on young children forced him to move from school to school, before he finally settled at a mining school in Shakhty, near Rostov. An eyewitness had seen Chikatilo with the victim, shortly before her disappearance, but his wife provided him with an iron-clad alibi that enabled him to evade any further police attention.
Alexsandr Kravchenko, a year-old with a previous rape conviction, was arrested and confessed to the crime under duress, probably as a result of extensive and brutal interrogation. He was tried for the killing of Lena Zakotnova, and executed in Perhaps as a result of his close brush with the law, there were no more documented victims for the next three years. Still dogged by claims of child abuse, Chikatilo found it impossible to find another teaching post, when he was made redundant from his mining school post, in early He took a job as a clerk for a raw materials factory in Rostov, where the travel involved with the position gave him unlimited access to a wide range of young victims over the next nine years.
Larisa Tkachenko, 17, became his next victim. On September 3, , Chikatilo strangled, stabbed and gagged her with earth and leaves to prevent her crying out. The brutal force afforded Chikatilo his sexual release, and he began to develop a pattern of attack that saw him focusing on young runaways of both sexes. He befriended them at train stations and bus stops, before luring them into nearby forest areas, where he would attack them, attempt rape and use his knife, to mutilate them.
In a number of cases he ate the sexual organs, or removed other body parts such as the tips of their noses or tongues. In the earliest cases, the common pattern was to inflict damage to the eye area, slashing across the sockets and removing the eyeballs in many cases, an act which Chikatilo later attributed to a belief that his victims kept an imprint of his face in their eyes, even after death. At this time serial killers were a virtually unknown phenomenon in the Soviet Union.
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Evidence of serial killing, or child abuse, was sometimes suppressed by state-controlled media, in the interests of public order. The eye mutilation was a modus operandi distinct enough to allow for other cases to be linked, when the Soviet authorities finally admitted that they had a serial killer to contend with. As the body count mounted, rumors of foreign inspired plots, and werewolf attacks, became more prevalent, and public fear and interest grew, despite the lack of any media coverage.
In Moscow detective Major Mikhail Fetisov assumed control of the investigation. He recognized that a serial killer might be on the loose, and assigned a specialist forensic analyst, Victor Burakov, to head the investigation in the Shakhty area. The investigation centered on known sex offenders, and the mentally ill, but such were the interrogation methods of the local police that they regularly solicited false confessions from prisoners, leaving Burakov skeptical of the majority of these "confessions".
Progress was slow, especially as, at that stage, not all of the victim's bodies had been discovered, so the true body count was unknown to the police. With each body, the forensic evidence mounted, and police were convinced that the killer had the blood type AB, as evidenced by the semen samples collected from a number of crime scenes.