Police hunting paedophile serial killer who ‘targets kids with eye problems’

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Russian are hunting a serial killer suspected of targeting children with eye problems for the last 24 years.

Eight girls and one boy are feared to have been slain from 1997 to now.

The naked body of the latest victim Nastya Muravyova, nine, was recently found seven weeks after she vanished going to a sweet shop.

Her corpse, wrapped in dozens of plastic bags, appeared soon after her grandmother appealed to her abductor to return her.

Her hands were tied behind her back with an electric cable and her mouth was covered with adhesive tape. Her body was left at the shore of a lake which had been searched multiple times since she vanished.

Nastya – who had a squint – was killed soon after top serial killing expert Lt-Col Evgeny Karchevsky – nicknamed Russia's 'Maniac Hunter' – was brought in to solve the mystery of disappearing children in the Russian oil capital Tyumen.

The suspected paedophile killer is believed to be in his 50s and to imprison and sexually abuse his victims for several days before taking their lives.

At least nine cases in Tyumen are suspected by investigators to be linked, where a majority of the children had medically-registered eye problems.

Only three bodies of the children have been found – all with similar cables.

From 1997 to 1999 three girls went missing: Lyubov Simonova, 16, Irina Kasyanova, 13, and Alyona Imamova, 12. They were never found.

In 2001 Sofya Telesheva, 11, was murdered, and a year later Anna Bukrina, 13, half sister of Lyubov Simonova, who had not eaten for four days before being killed, according to forensic evidence.

Both were held for a period before being strangled, say investigators.

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The body of Sofya was found on the lake shore where Nastya was discovered two decades later.

Between 2008 and 2010 three children went missing – Eduard Alimbayev, eight, and Anastasia Lozhkina, 12, and Anna Anisimova, 11. They have never been found.

Anna Anisimova is said to look "very similar" to Nastya Muravyova, one of three whose remains were discovered. The others were Sofya Telesheva and Anna Bukrina.

A majority of the children had squints or other eye problems, even if slight, said Dmitry Kiryukhin, a former scientific consultant of the Russian Investigative Committee, who earlier took part in the search for missing children.

In 2011 an identikit picture of the killer was publicised.

"Irina Kasyanova had an eye injury, Anya Anisimova wore glasses, Anastasia. Lozhkina and Alyona Imamova had squints. Nastya also had a similar feature."

Kiryukhin said: "It is very likely that the maniac chooses children on this basis. But what drives him is not clear."

One theory is that the gaps in children vanishing and being killed may be when the perpetrator was in jail, and checks are being made on possible suspects.

Another is that the killer may have had access to medical records.

Kuryukhin revealed that a decade ago he created a profile of the killer.

"Then he was 40-45, not convicted before, lives or lived with a woman who had a daughter, aged 11-to-13," he said.

He was suspected of working in the transport industry and having a country house where he held the abducted children.

"If this is the same maniac, then he is now in his 50s, and even if married, he has a separate house he does not let anyone enter," he said.

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"This is where he kept the previous girls and the child who disappeared this summer, Nastya."

He believes the warped killer "responded" to Nastya's grandmother's plea to give her back.

"She turned to the maniac through the media…..he heard her and returned the body."

Nastya's disappearance attracted huge publicity in Russia after a campaign led by her sister Tatyana, 18.

Their single-parent father Sergey Muravyov, 40, a porter with a previous murder conviction, initially came under suspicion in the high-profile case but he passed a lie-detector test and is no longer seen as a suspect.

She was last seen on CCTV at a local sweet shop, wearing yellow capris and pink trainers.

Russia's top criminal investigator Alexander Bastrykin – a former university classmate of Vladimir Putin – has taken personal charge of the case.

Her remains were found in reeds on the shore of Obrochny Lake.

Karchevsky came to fame by obtaining dozens of confessions from ex-policeman Mikhail Popkov, 57, Russia's worst serial killer, who murdered 81 women, raping most of his victims.

  • Vladimir Putin
  • Russia
  • Crime

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