Psychopath Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo
Psychopath Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo (16 October 1936 – 14 February 1994) was a Soviet serial killer who sexually abused, killed and mutilated at least fifty-two women and children between 1978 and 1990 in the Russian SFSR, Ukrainian SSR, and Uzbek SSR. Chikatilo confessed to fifty-six murders and was tried for fifty-three murders at his trial in April 1992. He was convicted and sentenced to death for fifty-two murders in October 1992, although the Russian Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that there was insufficient evidence to proved his guilt in those nine murders. Chikatilo was executed in February 1994.
Chikatilo was known as the “Rostov Ripper” and the “Butcher of Rostov” because he committed most of his killings in the Rostov Oblast of the Russian SFSR.
Andrei Chikatilo was born on October 16, 1936 in the village of Yabluchne in the Sumy Oblast of the Ukrainian SSR. At the time of its birth, Ukraine was in the grip of famine caused by Joseph Stalin’s forced collectivization of agriculture. Chikatilo’s parents were collective farm workers who lived in a one-room hut. They received no wages for their work but received the right to cultivate the plot of land behind the family hut.
The family rarely had enough food; Chikatilo himself later admitted that he did not eat bread until he was 12 years old and even he and his family often had to eat grass and leaves to prevent hunger. Throughout his childhood, Chikatilo was repeatedly told by his mother Anna that before his birth, his older brother Stepan, at the age of four, was kidnapped and cannibalized by hungry neighbors although there was never any evidence of this. Did this incident really happen or did Stepan Chikatilo really exist. Despite this, Chikatilo remembers his childhood being overshadowed by poverty, ridicule, hunger and war.
When the Soviet Union entered the Second World War, Chikatilo’s father, Roman, was conscripted into the Red Army. He was later taken prisoner after being wounded in battle. Between 1941 and 1944, Chikatilo witnessed some of the effects of the Nazi occupation of Ukraine, which he described as “horror” that he witnessed bombings, fires, and shootings while he and his mother hid in basements and trenches. On one occasion, Chikatilo and his mother were forced to watch their own hut burn to the ground. With his father at war, Chikatilo and his mother shared a single bed. He often wet his bed and his mother scolded and beat him for every mistake.
In 1943 Chikatilo’s mother gave birth to a baby girl, Tatyana. Because Chikatilo’s father had been conscripted into the military in 1941, Chikatilo was suspicious of his mother that his newborn sister was not the seed of his father. Since many Ukrainian women were raped by German soldiers during the war, it has been speculated that Tatyana’s sister was the result of rape by a German soldier.
In September 1944, Chikatilo started his school. Although shy and studious as a child, he was physically weak and regularly attended school in homespun clothes and in 1946 with his stomach swollen from hunger resulting from the postwar famine that ravaged much of the Soviet Union, at several moments, this hunger caused Chikatilo to faint. both at home and at school and she was constantly the target of the bullies who often mocked her for her physical stature and shy nature. At home, Chikatilo and his sister were constantly insulted by their mother. Tatyana later recalled that despite the hardships her parents were in, their father was a good man, while their mother was strict and unforgiving towards her children. Chikatilo developed a passion for studying hard at home to boost his self-confidence. To his teachers, Chikatilo was a very good student and they often complimented him.
In his youth, Chikatilo was an honor student and a fanatical communist. He was appointed editor of his school’s newspaper at the age of 14 and two years later became chairman of the Student Communist Party committee. Chikatilo an avid reader of communist literature, he was also delegated to organize street marches. Although Chikatilo admitted that studying was not easy for him due to frequent headaches and bad childhood memories, he was the only student from his collective farm to finish the last year of his studies, graduating with good grades in 1954.
At the start of puberty, Chikatilo discovered that he suffered from chronic impotence, exacerbating social awkwardness and self-loathing. He is shy in the company of women; His first crush, at age 17, was a girl named Lilya Barysheva, whom he became acquainted with through her school newspaper, however he was very nervous in her company and never asked her out. That same year, Chikatilo jumped on his friend’s 11-year-old sister and wrestled her to the ground, ejaculating as she struggled in his grip.
After graduation, Chikatilo applied for a scholarship at Moscow State University. Even though he passed the entrance exam with good or even very good scores, he was not considered good enough to be accepted. Chikatilo speculated that his scholarship application was rejected because of his father’s tainted war record (his father had been branded a traitor during his captivity in 1943. He made no attempt to enroll at another university instead he went to the city of Kursk, where he worked as a laborer for three months before— in 1955—enrolled in a vocational school with the intention of becoming a communications technician. That same year, Chikatilo entered into his first serious relationship, with a local girl two years his junior. On three occasions, the pair attempted sexual intercourse, although on each chance, Chikatilo was unable to maintain an erection.After eighteen months, he broke off the relationship.
After completing his two years of vocational training, Chikatilo moved to the Ural city of Nizhny Tagil to work on a long-term construction project. While living in Nizhny Tagil, he also took correspondence courses in engineering with the Moscow Institute of Electrotechnical Communications. He worked in the Urals for two years until he was drafted into the Soviet Army in 1957.
Chikatilo did his mandatory military service between 1957 and 1960, being assigned first to serve with guarding the borders in Central Asia, then to the KGB communications unit in East Berlin. Here, his employment record was flawless and he joined the Communist Party shortly before his military service ended in 1960.
After completing his service, Chikatilo returned to his native village to live with his parents. He soon made the acquaintance of a young widow. Their three-month relationship ended after several failed attempts at sexual intercourse, after which the woman innocently asked her friends for advice on how Chikatilo could overcome his inability to maintain an erection. As a result, most of his colleagues knew of Chikatilo’s impotence. In a 1993 interview about this incident, Chikatilo stated: “Girls walked behind me, whispering that I was helpless. I was so ashamed. I tried to hang myself. My mother and some neighbors pulled me off the rope. Well, I thought nobody wants a man to be humiliated. So I had to run away from there, away from my homeland”.
Moved to Rostov-on-Don
After a few months, Chikatilo found work as a communications engineer in a town located north of Rostov-on-Don. He moved to the Russian SFSR in 1961, renting a small apartment near his place of work. That same year, her younger sister, Tatyana, finished school and moved into her apartment (her parents moved to the Rostov region shortly thereafter). Tatyana lived with her brother for six months before marrying a local youth and moving into her in-laws’ house; he sees nothing wrong with his brother’s lifestyle beyond his great shyness towards women and decides to help his brother find a wife and start a family.
In 1963 Chikatilo married a woman named Feodosia Odnacheva, whom his younger sister introduced him to. Chikatilo later said that his marital sex life was very cold because his wife understood that he could not maintain an erection, they agreed that she would get pregnant by him ejaculating externally and pushing his semen into her vagina with his fingers. In 1965, Feodosia gave birth to a daughter, Lyudmila. Four years later, in 1969, a son named Yuri was born.
Chikatilo chose to enroll as a correspondence student at the University of Rostov in 1964, studying Russian literature and philology, obtaining a degree in this subject in 1970. Shortly before obtaining his degree, Chikatilo obtained a job managing regional sporting events. He remained in this position for one year, before starting his career as a teacher of Russian language and literature in Novoshakhtinsk.
Chikatilo is considered by many people to be unable to become a teacher, even though he is knowledgeable in the subjects he teaches, but he cannot strictly maintain discipline in his class and is often the target of ridicule by his students due to his low self-esteem.
In May 1973, Chikatilo committed his first sexual assault on one of his students. In this incident, he swam up to a 15 year old girl and groped her breasts and genitals, Chikatilo ejaculating as she struggled against his grip. Months later, Chikatilo sexually assaulted and beat up another teenage girl he locked in his classroom. He did not get any decisive action from either of those incidents. One of Chikatilo’s duties at this school was to ensure that his students who lived at the school were present at their dormitories at night; on several occasions, he is known to have entered the girls’ dormitory in the hope of seeing them undress.
In response to the increasing number of complaints filed against him by students, the school director summoned Chikatilo to an official meeting and told him that he must resign voluntarily or be fired. Chikatilo left his job quietly and started working again as a teacher at another school in Novoshakhtinsk in January 1974. He lost this job due to staff reductions in September 1978, before finding another teaching position at Technical School No. 33 in Shakhty, a coal mining town forty-seven miles north of Rostov.
Chikatilo’s career as a teacher ended in March 1981 following several complaints of child abuse against students of both sexes. That same month, he started a job as a stock clerk for a Rostov-based factory that produced building materials. This job required Chikatilo to travel extensively across most of the Soviet Union to physically purchase the raw materials needed to meet production quotas, or to negotiate supply contracts.
The murder of Yelena Zakotnova
In September 1978, Chikatilo moved to Shakhty, where he committed his first murder. On the night of December 22, he lured a 9-year-old girl named Yelena Zakotnova to an old house he had secretly bought, he attempted to rape her but failed to achieve an erection. When the girl struggled, he strangled her and stabbed her three times in the stomach, Chikatilo ejaculated while stabbing the child. In an interview after her 1990 arrest, Chikatilo later recalled that immediately after stabbing Zakotnova, the girl “said something very hoarse”, during which he choked her unconscious before throwing her body into the nearby Grushevka River. His body was found two days later.
Much evidence linking Chikatilo to Zakotnova’s murder, bloodstains were found in the snow near the house Chikatilo bought, neighbors had also recalled that Chikatilo had been in the house on the evening of December 22, Zakotnova’s school backpack had been found on the opposite bank of the river at the end of the street ( showed the girl had been thrown into the river) and a witness had given police a detailed description of a man who closely resembled Chikatilo, whom he saw talking to Zakotnova at the bus stop where the girl was last seen alive. Despite this fact, a 25-year-old worker named Aleksandr Kravchenko (who previously served prison time for the rape and murder of a teenage girl) was arrested for the crime. A search of Kravchenko’s home revealed bloodstains on his wife’s armor after it was investigated her blood type matched Zakotnova’s.
Kravchenko has an alibi on the afternoon of December 22, 1978, he had been at home with his wife and friends all afternoon, and the couple’s neighbors can verify this. Nonetheless, the police, after threatening Kravchenko’s wife by being an accomplice to the murder and her friend by perjury, obtained new statements in which the women claimed Kravchenko had not returned home until late in the evening on the day of the murders. Confronted with this altered testimony, Kravchenko confessed to the murders.
He was tried for murder in 1979. At his trial, Kravchenko recanted his confession and maintained his innocence, stating his confession had been obtained under extreme duress. Despite his repeal, Kravchenko was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. This sentence was commuted to fifteen years in prison (the maximum length of imprisonment at the time) by the Supreme Court in December 1980. Under pressure from the victim’s relatives, Kravchenko was tried again, found guilty, and finally executed in July 1983 by firing squad for Zakotnov’s murder.
After Zakotnova’s murder, Chikatilo was able to achieve sexual arousal and orgasm simply by stabbing and slashing women and children to death and he later claimed that the urge to repeat the experience had gotten him into trouble. Nonetheless, Chikatilo did stress that, at first, he had struggled to resist these urges, often cutting short business trips to return home rather than face the temptation to victimize.
The second and subsequent murders
On September 3, 1981, Chikatilo encountered a 17-year-old boarding school student, Larisa Tkachenko, standing at a bus stop as she exited the public library in downtown Rostov. According to his confession, Chikatilo persuaded Tkachenko to come with him to the forest near the Don River under the pretext of drinking vodka and “relaxing”. When they reached a secluded area, he knocked the girl to the ground before tearing her clothes off and trying to have intercourse, when Tkachenko resisted the action as soon as Chikatilo failed to achieve an erection, he forced mud into Tkachenko’s mouth to stifle his screams before beating and choking him to death. Because he did not have a knife, Chikatilo mutilated himself with his teeth and stick, he also ripped one nipple from Tkachenko’s body with his teeth before covering her body with leaves, twigs, and torn sheets of newspaper. Tkachenko’s body was found the next day.
Nine months after Tkachenko’s murder, on June 12, 1982, Chikatilo traveled by bus to the Bagayevsky District of Rostov to buy vegetables. Having to change buses in the village of Donskoi, he decided to continue his journey on foot. Walking away from the bus station, he met a 13-year-old girl, Lyubov Biryuk, who was walking home from a shopping trip. The two walked together for about a quarter of a mile until their path was shielded from view by bushes, whereupon Chikatilo pounced on Biryuk, dragged him into the nearest bushes, tore off his dress, and killed him by stabbing and slashing him to death as he imitated sexual intercourse. When his body was found on June 27, medical examiners found evidence of twenty-two knife wounds to the head, neck, chest, and pelvic area. Further wounds found on the skull indicated that the killer had attacked Biryuk from behind with the hilt and blade of the knife. In addition, several strokes were found in Biryuk’s eye sockets.
After the Biryuk murder, Chikatilo no longer tried to fight his killing urges, between July and September 1982, he killed five more victims between the ages of 9 and 18. He formed a pattern of approaching children, runaways, and young homeless people on buses or train stations, luring them to the nearest forest or other remote area, and killing them, usually by stabbing, slashing and disemboweling the victims with a knife; although some of the victims, as well as receiving multiple knife wounds, were also strangled or beaten to death.
Judging from the victim’s body there is evidence of mutilation of the eye sockets. The pathologist concluded that these injuries were caused by a knife, leading investigators to conclude that the killer had gouged out his victim’s eyes. Chikatilo’s adult female victims were often prostitutes or homeless women whom he would lure to remote areas with promises of alcohol or money. He will usually try to have sexual intercourse with these victims, but he is usually unable to achieve or maintain an erection; this would send him into a deathly rage, especially if she mocked his impotence.
He would reach orgasm only when he stabbed and slashed his victim to death. Chikatilo’s children and youth victims were of both sexes; he will lure these victims to a remote area using various gimmicks, usually formed in an initial conversation with the victim, such as promising them a favor or a job, or offering to show them a shortcut, the chance to see a rare stamp, film or coin, or by offering food or candy. He would usually beat these victims once they were alone, often tying their hands behind their backs with a rope before shoving mud or clay into the victims’ mouths to silence their screams, and then proceeding to kill them. After a murder, Chikatilo would make simple efforts to hide the body before leaving the scene of the crime.
On December 11, 1982 Chikatilo met a 10-year-old girl named Olga Stalmachenok riding a bus to her parents’ home in Novoshakhtinsk and persuaded the child to leave the bus with her. She was last seen by a fellow passenger, who reported that a middle-aged man had carried the girl away by holding her hand. Chikatilo lured the girl into a corn field on the outskirts of town, stabbed her more than fifty times in the head and body, ripped open her chest and cut her lower intestines and uterus.
In January 1983, the four victims so far killed were tentatively linked to the same killer. A team of Moscow police, led by Major Mikhail Fetisov, was sent to Rostov-on-Don to direct an investigation that gradually became known among investigators as Operation Forest Path. Fetisov put together a team of ten investigators based in Rostov, tasked with solving all four cases. In March, Fetisov assigned newly appointed specialist forensic analyst Viktor Burakov to lead the investigation. The following month, Stalmachenok’s body was found. Burakov was summoned to the crime scene, where he examined the child’s numerous knife wounds and disembowelment and incisions to his eye sockets. Burakov later stated that, as he noted the strokes in Stalmachenok’s eye sockets, doubts arose about the existence of a serial killer.
Chikatilo did not kill again until June 1983, when he killed a 15-year-old Armenian girl named Laura Sarkisyan; his body was found close to an unmarked railway platform near Shakhty. By September, he had killed five more victims. The accumulation of bodies found and the similarity between the patterns of injuries suffered by the victims forced the Soviet authorities to admit that a serial killer was on the loose. On September 6, 1983 the public prosecutor of the Soviet Union officially linked the six murders so far linked to the same killer.
Due to the savagery of the killings in which the victims were mostly gutted, police theorized that the killings had been carried out by either groups harvesting organs to be sold for transplants, the work of satanists or mentally ill individuals. Most police efforts concentrated on the theory that the killer must be mentally ill, homosexual, or a pedophile, and the alibis of all individuals who had spent time in psychiatric wards or had been convicted of homosexuality or pedophilia were checked and entered into the card filing system. Registered sex offenders are also investigated and if their alibis are corroborated, removed from investigation.
Often the police find suspects several times but when the police obtain confessions from suspects, bodies continue to be found, proving that the suspect who confesses is not the killer they are looking for. On 30 October 1983 the body of 19 year old prostitute Vera Shevkun was found in Shakhty. Shevkun had been killed on 27 October. Although the mutilations performed on Shevkun’s body are another characteristic of those found on other victims linked to the unknown killer, the victim’s eyes were not enucleated or injured. Two months later, on December 27, a 14-year-old Gukovo schoolboy, Sergey Markov, was lured off a train and killed at a rural station near Novocherkassk. Markov was neutered and suffered over seventy knife wounds to the neck and upper body before being disemboweled.
In January and February 1984, Chikatilo killed two women in the Rostov Aviation Park. On March 24, he coaxed a 10-year-old boy, Dmitry Ptashnikov, away from a stamp stall in Novoshakhtinsk. While walking with the boy, Chikatilo was seen by several witnesses who were able to provide investigators with a detailed description of the killer. When Ptashnikov’s body was found three days later, police also found the killer’s footprints and samples of semen and saliva on the victim’s clothing. On May 25, Chikatilo killed a young woman named Tatyana Petrosyan and her 10-year-old daughter, Svetlana, in a wooded area outside Shakhty; Petrosyan had known Chikatilo for several years before being killed. By late July, he had killed three additional young women between the ages of 19 and 21 and a 13-year-old boy.
In the summer of 1984, Chikatilo was fired from his job as a supply officer for the theft of two rolls of linoleum. Charges had been filed against him the previous February and he had been asked to quietly resign but refused to do so, as he has denied the charges. Chikatilo found another job as a supply clerk in Rostov on 1 August.
On August 2, Chikatilo killed a 16-year-old girl, Natalya Golosovskaya, in the Aviation Park. On August 7, he lured a 17-year-old girl, Lyudmila Alekseyeva, to the bank of the Don by pretending to show her a shortcut to the bus station. Alekseyeva suffered thirty-nine stab wounds to her body before Chikatilo mutilated and disemboweled her and deliberately inflicted wounds she knew would not be fatal. Her body was found the next morning along with her upper lip which had been slashed open.
Hours after Alekseyeva’s murder, Chikatilo flew to the capital of Uzbekistan Tashkent on a business trip. By the time he returned to Rostov on 15 August, he had killed an unidentified young woman and a 10-year-old girl, Akmaral Seydaliyeva. Within two weeks, the naked body of an 11-year-old boy named Aleksandr Chepel was found on the banks of the River Don, strangled and castrated, with his eyes gouged out, just meters from where Alexeyeva’s body had been found earlier and on September 6, Chikatilo killed a librarian young, Irina Luchinskaya, 24 years old, in the Aviation Park.
First arrest and release
On September 13, 1984, Chikatilo was observed by two undercover detectives trying to talk to a young woman at the Rostov bus station. Detectives followed him as he roamed the city, trying to get close to women and committing acts of frotteurism in public places. Upon Chikatilo’s arrival at the downtown market, he was arrested and detained. A search of his belongings found a knife with a 20-centimeter (7.9-inch) blade, several long ropes and a jar of Vaseline. Chikatilo’s dubious background is revealed, and his physical description matches that of the man seen walking beside Dmitry Ptashnikov before the boy’s murder. Chikatilo’s blood sample was taken; results which revealed his blood type to be type A while semen samples found in a total of six victims killed by unknown killers throughout the spring and summer of 1984 have been classified by medical examiners to be type AB. Chikatilo’s name was added to the card index file used by investigators but his blood type analysis ruled him out as a suspect.
In December 1984, Chikatilo found a new job at a locomotive factory in Novocherkassk and kept a low profile. He did not kill again until August 1, 1985 when on a business trip to Moscow, he met an 18 year old woman, named Natalia Pokhlistova, standing on a train platform near Domodedovo Airport. Pokhlistova was lured from the train into the thickets near the village of Vostryakovo where she was tied up, stabbed thirty-eight times in the neck and chest, then strangled to death.
Based on the hypothesis that the killer had traveled from Rostov Oblast to Moscow by air, investigators examined all Aeroflot flight records of passengers traveling between Moscow and the Rostov region between late July and early August. On this occasion, however, Chikatilo had traveled to Moscow by train and, therefore, no documentation was available for investigators to scrutinize. Four weeks later, on August 27, Chikatilo killed another young woman, Irina Gulyaeva, in Shakhty. Like what happened to Pokhlistova, the victim’s injuries were related to her killing with the hunt for a serial killer.
In November 1985, a special prosecutor, Issa Kostoyev, was appointed to oversee the investigation, which at this stage was expanded to include fifteen prosecutors and twenty-nine detectives assigned to work exclusively on the manhunt. The homicides known to be linked to the manhunt were carefully re-investigated, and police began another round of interrogation of known sex and homosexual offenders. The following month, the militsiya resumed station patrols around Rostov, and plainclothes female officers were ordered to hang around bus and train stations. At Burakov’s request, the police also took steps to consult a psychiatrist, Dr. Alexandr Bukhanovsky, the first such consultation in a serial murder investigation in the Soviet Union. All of the crime scene and medical examiner’s reports were made available to Bukhanovsky, with the understanding he would produce a psychological profile of the unknown killer for investigators.
Bukhanovsky’s 65-page psychological profile describes the killer as a loner male between the ages of 45 and 50 who had experienced a painful and isolated childhood, and who was incapable of flirting with or courting women. This well-educated man may be married and have children, but is also a sadist who suffers from impotence and can achieve sexual arousal just by watching his victim suffer. The murder itself is analogous to sexual intercourse that this individual was unable to perform and the knife became a substitute for a penis that failed to function normally. Since many of the murders occurred on weekdays near mass transit hubs and throughout the Rostov Region, Bukhanovsky also argues that the killer’s job required him to travel regularly, and based on the actual days of the week the murders took place, the killer was most likely related. with a production schedule.
Chikatilo followed the investigation carefully, reading the newspaper reports of the hunt for the killer that had begun to appear in the media and controlling his homicidal impulses. For nearly a year after Gulyaeva’s murder in August 1985, no further victims were found in the Rostov or Moscow Oblasts whose bodies had been mutilated by an unknown killer. Investigators tentatively linked the murder of a 33-year-old woman named Lyubov Golovakha—found stabbed to death in the Myasnikovsky District of Rostov on July 23, 1986—to the investigation, although this was solely on the basis that the type of semen the killer matched with the killer they were looking for. , that the victim had been stripped naked prior to his murder, and that he had been stabbed more than twenty times. The victims were not dismembered or mutilated, nor were they seen anywhere near mass transportation. Because of this discrepancy, many investigators expressed serious doubts as to whether Golovakha’s murder was committed by the killer they were looking for.
On August 18, 1986, a victim was found buried in the ground on a collective farm in the city of Bataysk. The injuries this victim suffered were characteristic of manhunt-related mutilation victims who were killed between 1982 and 1985. The victim was an 18-year-old court secretary named Irina Pogoryelova. Her body had been cut open from the neck to the genitals, with one breast removed and her eye cut out. Because the killer had made a serious effort to bury the bodies, some investigators theorize that this explains the sudden dearth of victims found.
In the fall of 1986, investigators in Rostov theorized that the unknown killer may have moved to another part of the Soviet Union and continued killing there. Because the victims who were killed in the Rostov Oblast in 1985 and 1986 had died in July and August, in the fall of 1986, some investigators believe it is possible that the perpetrators had moved to other parts of the Soviet Union, and might only return to Rostov Oblast in the summer. hot. Rostov Police put together a bulletin to be sent to all troops across the Soviet Union, describing the pattern of wounds their unidentified killer had inflicted on their victims and seeking feedback from any constables who had found a homicide victim with injuries matching those found in the Rostov Region . The response was negative.
In 1987 Chikatilo killed three times. On each occasion the killings occurred while he was on a business trip away from the Rostov Oblast, and none of these murders had anything to do with a manhunt in Rostov. Chikatilo’s first murder in 1987 was committed on May 16, when he met a 12-year-old boy, Oleg Makarenkov, at a train station in the Ural city of Revda. Makarenkov is lured from the station by promises of sharing food with Chikatilo at his dacha; he was murdered in a forest near the station, although his body was not found until 1991. In July, he killed a 12-year-old boy, Ivan Bilovetsky, in the Ukrainian town of Zaporizhia, and on September 15, he killed a student 16-year-old vocational school, Yuri Tereshonok, in a forest on the outskirts of Leningrad.
Repeating His Typical Murder
In 1988 Chikatilo committed three murders, killing an unknown woman in Krasny Sulin in April and two boys in May and July. His first murder victim was coaxed from a train in Krasny Sulin before Chikatilo tied his hands behind his back and gagged his mouth with dirt, before severing his nose from his face and causing multiple knife wounds to his neck. Chikatilo then beat him to death with a concrete slab; his body was found on April 6. Investigators noted that the knife wounds on this victim were similar to those suffered by other hunting-related victims and were killed between 1982 and 1985, but because the woman had been killed with a concrete slab, had not been disemboweled, and the killer had not injured the eye or his genitals, investigators were unsure whether to link this murder to previous investigations.
In May, Chikatilo killed a 9-year-old boy named Aleksey Voronko in the Ukrainian city of Ilovaisk. The boy’s injuries leave no doubt that the killer has struck again, and this murder is linked to the hunt. On July 14, Chikatilo killed 15-year-old Yevgeny Muratov at the Donleskhoz station near Shakhty. Muratov’s murder was also linked to the investigation, although his body was not found until April 1989. Although his remains were mostly skeletal, Muratov’s autopsy revealed that he had been castrated, and suffered from at least thirty knife wounds.
Chikatilo did not kill again until February 28, 1989, when he killed a 16-year-old girl, Tatyana Ryzhova, in her daughter’s empty apartment. He dismembered the body and hid the remains in a ditch. Because the victim was dismembered, the police did not link his murder with the investigation. Between May and August, Chikatilo killed four more victims, three of whom were killed in Rostov and Shakhty, although only two of these victims were linked to the killer.
With the reappearance of victims definitively linked to the manhunt and the fact that most of these victims’ bodies had been found near a train station, investigators tasked numerous plainclothes officers to secretly film and photograph passengers on trains throughout the Oblast. Rostov. Some trains are also equipped with hidden cameras with the intention of recording or photographing a victim along with the killer.
On January 14, 1990, Chikatilo met 11-year-old Andrei Kravchenko standing outside the Shakhty theater. Kravchenko was coaxed from the theater on the pretext of showing imported Western films that Chikatilo claimed were at his residence; his extensively stabbed and castrated body was found in a remote part of the forest the following month. Seven weeks after Kravchenko’s murder, on March 7, Chikatilo lured a 10-year-old boy, Yaroslav Makarov, from the Rostov train station to the Rostov Botanical Garden. Her disemboweled body was found the next day.
Political and public pressure
On March 11, the leaders of the investigation, led by Fetisov, convened a meeting to discuss the progress made in the hunt. Fetisov was under intense pressure from the public, press, and the Soviet Ministry of Internal Affairs to resolve the case; both he and Viktor Burakov had devoted extensive time and effort over the previous seven years in their efforts to apprehend the perpetrator. The intensity of the hunt in the years up to 1984 had receded to levels between 1985 and 1987, when Chikatilo committed only three murders that were conclusively linked to the killer—all of them were killed in 1986. By March 1990, however, six more victims had been linked to the killer. murderer. The media, which at that time had begun to gain freedom of reporting and criticizing the police for investigating this case, made the public more aware of this terrible case so that many state officials and politicians put pressure on the police to immediately find the killer.
Chikatilo had killed three more victims by August 1990. On April 4, he lured a 31-year-old woman, Lyubov Zuyeva, off the train and killed her in a forest near the Donleskhoz station. His body was not found until August 24. On 28 July, he lured a 13-year-old boy, Viktor Petrov, away from the Rostov railway station and killed him in the Rostov Botanical Gardens and on 14 August, he killed an 11-year-old boy, Ivan Fomin , in the reeds near the Novocherkassk coast.
The discovery of more victims triggers a massive police operation. Since several victims’ bodies had been found at train stations on a rail route through Rostov Oblast, Burakov suggested a ploy: all the larger stations in the area would be sent out by some uniformed policeman who couldn’t possibly escape the killer’s notice. The goal is to prevent the killer from trying to strike at any of these locations and to have undercover agents patrol smaller, less crowded stations, where the killer’s activities will be more likely to be noticed. The plan was approved, and both uniformed and undercover officers were ordered to question any adult male accompanied by a young woman or child, and record his name and passport number. Police deployed 360 people at all stations in the Rostov Region, but only undercover officers were stationed at the three smallest stations on the route through the oblast where the killer attacked most often—Kirpichnaya, Donleskhoz and Lesostep in an attempt to force the killer to attack at any of the three that station. The operation was carried out on October 27, 1990.
On October 30, police found the body of a 16-year-old boy, Vadim Gromov, at the Donleskhoz station. The wounds on Gromov’s body soon linked his murder to the hunt: the young man had been strangled, stabbed twenty-seven times and castrated, with the tip of his tongue cut out and his left eye stabbed. Gromov was killed on October 17, ten days before the start of the trapping plan. The same day Gromov’s body was found, Chikatilo lured another 16-year-old boy, Viktor Tishchenko, off the train at Kirpichnaya station, another station under surveillance by undercover police, and killed him in a nearby forest. Tishchenko’s body—with forty separate knife wounds—was found on 3 November.
The ultimate killing and surveillance
On November 6, 1990, Chikatilo killed and mutilated a 22-year-old woman, Svetlana Korostik, in a forest near the Donleskhoz station. Back on the train platform, he is observed by an undercover officer named Igor Rybakov, who observes Chikatilo approaching the well and washing his hands and face. As he approached the station, Rybakov also noted that Chikatilo’s coat had stains of grass and dirt at the elbows; Chikatilo also had a small red spot on his cheek and what appeared to be a nasty gash on one of his fingers. Rybakov seemed suspicious to him. The only reason people entered the forest near the Donleskhoz station at that time was to collect wild mushrooms (a popular Russian delight), but Chikatilo was not dressed like a typical forest scavenger; he wears more formal clothes. In addition, he has a nylon sports bag, which is not suitable for carrying mushrooms. Rybakov stops Chikatilo and examines his papers, but has no formal reason to arrest him. When Rybakov returned to his office, he filed a routine report, which contained the name of the person he had stopped at the station and a possible bloodstain visible on his cheek.
On November 13, Korostik’s body was found; she was the thirty-eighth victim associated with the hunt. The police summoned the officer in charge of surveillance at Donleskhoz station and examined the reports of all the men who were stopped and questioned in the previous week. Not only was Chikatilo’s name among the reports, but it was familiar to some of the officers involved in the case because he had been questioned in 1984 and had been added to a 1987 list of suspects compiled and distributed throughout the Soviet Union. The investigator informed his name at the police stations in various cities at a time when several victims related to the investigations had been murdered. Questioning Chikatilo’s former co-workers revealed that he had been forced to resign from two teaching positions due to repeated complaints of lewd behavior and sexual violence perpetrated against his students.
Police placed Chikatilo under surveillance on 14 November. In some cases, especially on trains or buses, he is seen approaching young women or children and engaging them in conversation. If the woman or child interrupted the conversation, Chikatilo would wait a few minutes and then find another conversation partner. On 20 November, after six days of surveillance, Chikatilo left his home with a large jar, which he had filled with beer at a small kiosk in a local park before he wandered around Novocherkassk, trying to make contact with the children he met. on its way. While leaving a cafe, Chikatilo was arrested by four plainclothes police officers.
On November 29, at the request of Burakov and Fetisov, Dr. Bukhanovsky was invited to assist in the examination of the suspect. Bukhanovsky read excerpts from 65 pages of his psychological profile to Chikatilo. Within two hours, Chikatilo broke down in tears and confessed to Bukhanovsky that he was indeed guilty of the crime for which he was arrested. After talking late into the night, Bukhanovsky reported to Burakov and Fetisov that Chikatilo was ready to confess.
Armed with handwritten notes that Bukhanovsky had prepared, Kostoyev prepared a formal murder charge for November 29—near the end of the ten-day period in which Chikatilo could be lawfully detained before being charged. The next morning, Kostoyev continued the interrogation. According to official protocol, Chikatilo confessed to thirty-six of the thirty-eight murders to which police attributed him, although he denied two additional murders committed in 1986 that police initially believed he had committed. One of these victims, Lyubov Golovakha, was found stabbed to death on 23 July 1986 and many investigators doubted any connection to the hunt; the second is Irina Pogoryelova, found murdered in Bataysk on August 18, 1986 and whose mutilation closely resembles that of other victims associated with the hunt.
Chikatilo gave full and detailed descriptions of each murder on the indictment list, all of which are consistent with known facts about each murder. When requested, he can draw rough sketches of various crime scenes, showing the position of the victim’s body and various landmarks around the crime scene. Additional details provide further evidence of his guilt: one victim on the indictment was a 19-year-old student named Anna Lemesheva, whom Chikatilo killed on 19 July 1984 near Shakhty station. Chikatilo recalled that when he had fought to beat him, he had stated that a man named “Bar” (“Leopard”) would retaliate for him attacking him. Lemesheva’s fiancé has a tattoo of the nickname “Bar” on his hand.
In describing his victims, Chikatilo referred to them as “déclassé elements” who he would lure to remote areas before killing them. In many cases, particularly (though not exclusively) with his male victims, Chikatilo stated that he would tie the victims’ hands behind their backs with a rope before he proceeded to kill them. He would usually inflict multiple knife wounds on the victim; initially inflicting shallow knife wounds to the chest area before inflicting deeper stab and slash wounds—usually thirty to fifty in total—before proceeding to disembowel the victim as she writhes on top of him until she reaches an orgasm. Chikatilo said that “the tears, the blood and the suffering of the victims gave me a certain relaxation and pleasure.”
When asked why most of his victims’ eyes were stabbed or slashed, but not enucleated like his previous victims’ eyes, Chikatilo stated that he originally believed in an old Russian superstition that the face of a murderer was left in his victims’ eyes. However, she stated, in “the following years”, she became convinced that this was just an old wives’ tale and that she was no longer gouging the eyes of her victims.
Chikatilo also told Kostoyev that he often tasted the blood of his victims, in which he stated that he “feels goosebumps” and “trembling all over”. He also admitted to tearing the victim’s genitals, lips, nipples and tongue with his teeth. In some cases, Chikatilo would cut or bite his victim’s tongue as he disemboweled him, either at or immediately after the point of death—running around the victim’s body holding his victim’s tongue high in one hand. Although he also confessed to having chewed off the uterus of his female victim and the testicles of his male victim, he stated that he later disposed of the body parts. Nonetheless, Chikatilo admitted to having swallowed the nipples and tongues of some of his victims.
In the following days, Chikatilo confessed to twenty more murders that were unrelated to the case, either because they were committed outside the Rostov Oblast or because their bodies were not found. As was the case with the victims listed on the initial indictment list, Chikatilo was able to provide details of these additional killings only the perpetrators knew: one of these additional victims, 14-year-old Lyubov Volobuyeva, had lived in southwestern Siberia, and was killed in a sorghum field near Krasnodar Airport on July 25, 1982. Chikatilo recalled that he had killed Volobuyeva in a millet field and that he had approached the girl while she was sitting in the waiting area at Krasnodar Airport. Volobuyeva, Chikatilo said, had told him that she lived in the Siberian city of Novokuznetsk and was waiting for a connecting flight at the airport to visit relatives.
In December 1990, Chikatilo led police to the body of Aleksey Khobotov, a boy he admitted to killing in August 1989 and whom he buried in the outskirts of Shakhty cemetery, proving unequivocally that he was the killer. He then led investigators to the bodies of two other victims he admitted to killing. Three of Chikatilo’s fifty-six victims said they could not be found or identified, but he was charged with killing fifty-three women and children between 1978 and 1990. He is being held in the same cell in Rostov where he was detained on 20 November for awaiting trial.
On February 14, 1994, Chikatilo was taken from his death row cell to a soundproof room in the Novocherkassk prison and executed by a single shot behind his right ear. He was buried in an unmarked grave in the prison cemetery.