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Mug shot of Andrei Chikatilo
|Born||16 October 1936|
Yablochnoye, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
|Died||14 February 1994 (aged 57)|
|Cause of death||Executed by gunshot behind right ear|
|Other names||The Butcher of Rostov|
The Red Ripper
The Forest Strip Killer
The Rostov Ripper
|Number of victims||53 confirmed, 56+ claimed|
|Span of killings||22 December 1978–6 November 1990|
|Date apprehended||20 November 1990|
Mug shot of Andrei Chikatilo
|Born||16 October 1936|
Yablochnoye, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
|Died||14 February 1994 (aged 57)|
|Cause of death||Executed by gunshot behind right ear|
|Other names||The Butcher of Rostov|
The Red Ripper
The Forest Strip Killer
The Rostov Ripper
|Number of victims||53 confirmed, 56+ claimed|
|Span of killings||22 December 1978–6 November 1990|
|Date apprehended||20 November 1990|
Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo (Russian: Андрей Романович Чикатило, Ukrainian: Андрій Романович Чикатило; 16 October 1936 – 14 February 1994) was a Soviet serial killer, nicknamed the Butcher of Rostov, the Red Ripper, and the Rostov Ripper, who committed the sexual assault, murder and mutilation of a minimum of 52 women and children between 1978 and 1990 in the Russian SFSR. Chikatilo confessed to a total of 56 murders and was tried for 53 of these killings in April 1992. He was convicted and sentenced to death for 52 of these murders in October 1992 and subsequently executed in February 1994.
Chikatilo was known by such titles as the Rostov Ripper and the Butcher of Rostov because the majority of his murders were committed in the Rostov Oblast of the Russian SFSR.
Andrei Chikatilo was born in the village of Yabluchne in the Sumy Oblast of the Ukrainian SSR. At the time of his birth, the Ukraine was in the grip of mass famine caused by crop failures and Joseph Stalin's forced collectivization of agriculture.
Chikatilo's parents were both collective farm labourers who lived in a one-room hut and who received no wages for their work, but instead received the right to cultivate a plot of land behind the family hut. The family seldom had sufficient food; Chikatilo himself later claimed not to have eaten bread until the age of twelve, adding that he and his family often had to eat grass and leaves in an effort to stave off hunger. Throughout his childhood, Chikatilo was repeatedly told by his mother, Anna, that prior to his birth, an older brother of his named Stepan had been kidnapped and cannibalized by starving neighbours, although it has never been independently established whether this incident actually occurred. Nonetheless, Chikatilo recalled his childhood as being blighted by poverty, ridicule, hunger, and war.
As a child, Chikatilo was constantly berated by his mother; his sister later recalled that in spite of the hardships endured by her parents, her father, Roman, was a kind individual, whereas her mother was harsh and rude towards her children.
When the Soviet Union entered World War II, his father was drafted into the Red Army and subsequently taken prisoner after being wounded in combat. Between 1941 and 1944, Chikatilo witnessed some of the effects of the Nazi occupation of Ukraine, which he described as "horrors", adding he witnessed bombings, fires, and shootings from which he and his mother would hide in cellars and ditches. 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 slept alone on a single bed. He was a chronic bed wetter and was berated and beaten by his mother for each offense.
In 1943, Chikatilo's mother gave birth to a baby girl, Tatyana. Chikatilo's father had been conscripted in 1941 and as such, could not have fathered Tatyana. It has been speculated the child was conceived as a result of rape committed by a German soldier.
In September 1944, Chikatilo began his schooling. Although shy and studious as a child, he developed a passion for reading and memorizing data and often studied at home, both to increase his sense of self-worth and to compensate for his short-sightedness, which often prevented him from reading the classroom blackboard. Chikatilo became an ardent student although throughout his childhood and adolescence, he was consistently a target for bullying by his peers.
By his teens, Chikatilo was both a model student and an ardent Communist. He was appointed editor of his school newspaper at age 14 and chairman of the pupils' Communist committee two years later. An avid reader of Communist literature, he was also delegated the task of organizing street marches. Although he claimed learning did not come easy to him due to headaches and a poor memory, he was the only student from his collective farm to complete the final year of study, graduating with excellent grades in 1954.
At the onset of puberty, Chikatilo discovered that he suffered from chronic impotence, worsening his social awkwardness and self-hatred. He was shy in the company of females; his first crush, at age 17, had been on a girl named Lilya Barysheva, with whom he had become acquainted through his school newspaper, yet he was chronically nervous in her company and never asked her for a date. The same year, Chikatilo jumped upon an 11-year-old friend of his younger sister and wrestled her to the ground, ejaculating as the girl struggled in his grasp.
Following his graduation, Chikatilo applied for a scholarship at the Moscow State University; although he passed the entrance examination with good-to-excellent grades, his grades were not deemed good enough for acceptance. Chikatilo speculated his father's tainted war record was the reason his scholarship application was rejected (his father had been branded a traitor for being taken prisoner in 1943), whereas the truth was that other students had performed better in a highly competitive exam. Chikatilo did not attempt to enroll at another university—he travelled to the city of Kursk, where he worked as a labourer for three months, before enrolling in a vocational school, where he studied to become a communications technician. The same year—1955—Chikatilo formed his first serious relationship with a local girl two years his junior. On three separate occasions, the couple attempted intercourse, although on each occasion, Chikatilo was unable to sustain an erection. After 18 months, the girl broke off their relationship.
Upon completion of his two-year vocational training, Chikatilo was deployed to the Urals city of Nizhny Tagil to work upon a long-term construction project. He worked in the Urals for two years until he was drafted into the Soviet Army in 1957.
Chikatilo performed his compulsory military service between 1957 and 1960. He was assigned to a KGB communications unit in Berlin. Here, his work record was unblemished and he joined the Communist party in 1960, shortly before his military service ended.
Upon completion of his army service, Chikatilo returned to his native village to live with his parents. He became acquainted with a young woman who was divorced from her husband and the pair began a three-month relationship, which ended after the several unsuccessful attempts at intercourse when the girl innocently asked her friends for advice as to how Chikatilo might overcome his inability to maintain an erection.  As a result of this inquisition, most of his peers discovered his impotence. In a 1993 interview regarding this incident, Chikatilo stated: "Girls were going behind my back, whispering that I was impotent. I was so ashamed. I tried to hang myself. My mother and some young neighbours pulled me out of the noose... I had to run away from there, away from my homeland."
After several months, Chikatilo found a job as a communications engineer in a town located north of Rostov-on-Don. He relocated to Russia in 1961, renting a small apartment close to his workplace. The same year, his younger sister, Tatyana, finished her schooling and moved into his apartment (his parents would relocate to the Rostov-on-Don region shortly thereafter). Tatyana lived with her brother for six months before marrying a local youth and moving into her in-laws' home; she noted nothing untoward with her brother's lifestyle, except his chronic shyness around women and resolved to help her brother find a wife and start a family.
In 1963, Chikatilo married a woman named Feodosia Odnacheva, to whom he had been introduced by his younger sister. According to Chikatilo, although he was attracted to Feodosia, his marriage was basically an arranged one which occurred barely two weeks after they had met and in which the decisive roles were played by his sister and her husband.
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 1965, Feodosia gave birth to a daughter, Lyudmila. Four years later, in 1969, a son named Yuri was born.
In 1970, Chikatilo completed a correspondence course in Russian literature and obtained his degree in the subject from Rostov University. Shortly before obtaining his degree, Chikatilo obtained a job managing regional sports activities. He remained in this position for one year, before beginning his career as a teacher of Russian language and literature in Novoshakhtinsk.
Chikatilo was largely ineffective as a teacher: although knowledgeable in the subjects he taught, he was unable to maintain discipline in his classes and was regularly subjected to mockery by his students who, he claimed, took advantage of his modest nature.
In May, 1973, Chikatilo committed his first known sexual assault upon one of his pupils. In this incident, he swam towards a 15-year-old girl and groped her breasts and genitals; he was not disciplined for this incident. Months later, he sexually assaulted another teenage girl in his classroom. In response to the complaints lodged against him by his pupils, the director of the school summoned Chikatilo to a formal meeting and informed him he should resign voluntarily or be fired. Chikatilo left his employment discreetly and found another job as a teacher at another school in Novoshakhtinsk. He lost this job as a result of cutbacks in 1978, before finding another teaching position in Shakhty.
In September 1978, Chikatilo moved to Shakhty, a coal mining town near Rostov-on-Don, where he committed his first documented murder. On 22 December, Chikatilo 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 and stabbed her three times in the abdomen, ejaculating in the process of stabbing the child. In an interview after his arrest, Chikatilo later recalled that after stabbing Yelena, the girl had "said something very hoarsely", whereupon he strangled her into unconsciousness before throwing her body into a nearby river. Her body was found two days later.
Numerous pieces of evidence linked Chikatilo to the murder of Yelena Zakotnova: Spots of blood had been found in the snow near the house Chikatilo had purchased; neighbours had noted that Chikatilo had been present in the house on the evening of 22 December; Zakotnova's school rucksack had been found upon the opposite bank of the river at the end of the street (indicating the girl had been thrown into the river at this location) and a witness had given police a detailed description of a man closely resembling Chikatilo whom she had seen talking with Zakotnova at the bus stop where the girl had last been seen alive. Despite these facts, a 25-year-old labourer named Aleksandr Kravchenko who, as a teenager, had been fined for petty vandalism, was arrested for the crime. A search of Kravchenko's home revealed spots of blood on his wife's sweater: the blood type was determined to be the same as both Zakotnova and Kravchenko's wife.
Kravchenko had a watertight alibi for the afternoon of 22 December: he had been at home with his wife and a friend of hers the entire afternoon, and neighbours of the couple were able to verify this. Nonetheless, the police, having threatened Kravchenko's wife with being an accomplice to murder and her friend with perjury, obtained new statements in which the women claimed Kravchenko had not returned home until late in the evening on the day of the murder. Confronted with these altered testimonies, Kravchenko confessed to the killing. He was tried for the murder in 1979. 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 the time). Under pressure from the victim's relatives, Kravchenko was retried and eventually executed for the murder of Yelena Zakotnova in July 1983.
Following Zakotnova's murder, Chikatilo was able to achieve sexual arousal and orgasm only through stabbing and slashing women and children to death, and he later claimed that the urge to relive the experience had overwhelmed him although he did later claim that, initially, he had struggled to resist these urges.
On 3 September 1981, Chikatilo encountered a 17-year-old boarding school student named Larisa Tkachenko standing at a bus stop as he exited a public library in Rostov city centre. According to his subsequent confession, Chikatilo lured Tkachenko to a forest near the Don River with the pretext of drinking vodka and "relaxing." When they reached a secluded area, he threw the girl to the ground before tearing off her clothes and attempting intercourse as Tkachenko remonstrated against his actions. When Chikatilo failed to achieve an erection, he forced mud inside her mouth to stifle her screams before battering and strangling her to death. As he had no knife, Chikatilo mutilated the body with his teeth and a stick; he also tore one nipple from Tkachenko's body with his teeth.
Nine months after the murder of Tkachenko, on 12 June 1982, Chikatilo travelled by bus to the Bagayevsky District of Rostov to purchase 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 encountered a 13-year-old girl named Lyubov Biryuk who was herself walking home from a shopping trip. Once the path both were taking together was shielded from the view of potential witnesses by bushes, Chikatilo pounced upon Biryuk, dragged her into nearby undergrowth, tore off her dress and killed her by stabbing and slashing her to death. When her body was found on 27 June, the medical examiner discovered evidence of 22 knife wounds inflicted to the head, neck, chest, and pelvic region. In addition, several striations were discovered upon Biryuk's eye sockets.
Following Biryuk's murder, Chikatilo no longer attempted to resist his homicidal urges: between July and September 1982, he killed a further five 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 victims' bodies bore evidence of mutilation to 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 whom he would lure to secluded areas with promises of alcohol or money. Chikatilo would typically attempt intercourse with these victims, but he would usually be unable to achieve or maintain an erection; this 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, 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, often tying their hands behind their backs with a length of rope before stuffing mud or loam into the victims' mouth to silence their screams, and then proceed to kill them. After the killing, Chikatilo would make rudimentary—though seldom serious—efforts to conceal the body before leaving the crime scene.
On 11 December 1982, Chikatilo encountered 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 him. She was last seen by a fellow passenger being led firmly by the hand by a middle-aged man. Stalmachenok was lured to a cornfield on the outskirts of Novoshakhtinsk before she was killed. Chikatilo stabbed the girl in excess of 50 times around the head and body, ripped open her chest and excised her lower bowel and uterus.
By January 1983, a total of four victims thus far killed had been tentatively linked to the same killer. A Moscow police team, headed by Major Mikhail Fetisov, was sent to Rostov-on-Don to direct the investigation. Fetisov centered the investigations around Shakhty and assigned a newly appointed specialist forensic analyst, Viktor Burakov, to head the investigation. In April, Olga Stalmachenok's body was found. Burakov was summoned to the crime scene, where he noted the eviscerations conducted upon the child and that her eye sockets bore striations. Burakov later stated that, as he noted the striations upon Stalmachenok's eye sockets, any doubts about the presence of a serial killer evaporated.
Chikatilo did not kill again until June 1983, when he murdered a 15-year-old Armenian girl named Laura Sarkisyan; her body was found close to an unmarked platform near Shakhty. By September, he had killed a further five victims. The accumulation of bodies found and the similarities between the pattern of wounds inflicted on the victims forced the Soviet authorities to acknowledge that a serial killer was on the loose. On 6 September 1983, the public prosecutor of the USSR formally linked six of the murders thus far committed to the same killer.
Due to the sheer savagery of the murders and the precision of the eviscerations upon the victims' bodies, police theorized that the killings may have been conducted by either a group harvesting organs to sell for transplant or the work of a Satanic cult. However, much of the police effort concentrated upon mentally ill citizens, homosexuals, known paedophiles 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 intellectually disabled youths who 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. As a result of the investigation into the killings, more than 1000 unrelated crimes, including 95 murders and 245 rapes, were solved. However, as police obtained confessions from suspects, bodies continued to be discovered, proving that the suspects who had confessed could not be the killer the police were seeking: on 30 October 1983, the eviscerated body of a 19-year-old prostitute named Vera Shevkun was found in Shakhty. Shevkun had been killed on 27 October. Although the mutilations inflicted upon Shevkun's body were otherwise characteristic of those found upon other victims linked to the unknown murderer, the victim's eyes had not been enucleated or otherwise wounded. Two months later, on 27 December, a 14-year-old Gukovo schoolboy named Sergey Markov was lured off a train and murdered in Kazachi Lagerya. Markov was emasculated and suffered over seventy knife wounds to his neck and upper torso before being eviscerated.
In January and February 1984, Chikatilo killed two women in Rostov's Aviators' Park. On 24 March, he lured a 10-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 both semen and saliva samples on the victim's clothing. The semen samples were sent for analysis, revealing the killer's blood type to be type AB.
On 25 May, Chikatilo killed a young woman named Tatyana Petrosyan and her 11-year-old daughter, Svetlana, in a wooded area outside Shakhty. Petrosyan had known Chikatilo for several years prior to her murder. By 19 July, he had killed three further young women between the ages of 19 and 22 and a 13-year-old boy. In the summer of 1984, Chikatilo was fired from his work as a supply clerk for theft of property. The accusation had been filed against him 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 1 August.
On 2 August, Chikatilo killed a 16-year-old girl, Natalya Golosovskaya, in Aviators' Park. On 7 August, he lured a 17-year-old girl named Lyudmila Alekseyeva to the banks of the Don River on the pretense of showing her a shortcut to a bus terminal. Alekseyeva suffered 39 slash wounds to her body before being mutilated and disemboweled. The following day, Chikatilo flew to the Uzbekistan capital of Tashkent on a business trip. By the time he had returned to Rostov on 15 August, he had killed an unidentified young woman and a 12-year-old girl. Within two weeks an 11-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 6 September.
On 13 September 1984, 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 prior to the boy's murder. A sample of Chikatilo's blood was taken; the results of which revealed his blood group to be type A, whereas semen samples found upon a total of six victims murdered by the unknown killer throughout the spring and summer of 1984 had been classified by medical examiners to be type AB. He was found guilty of theft of property from his previous employer and sentenced to one year in prison, but was freed on 12 December 1984 after serving three months.
On 8 October 1984, 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 6 September murder of Irina Luchinskaya, no further bodies were found bearing the trademark mutilation of Chikatilo's murders; investigators in Rostov theorized that the unknown killer might have moved to another part of the Soviet Union and continued killing there. The Rostov police sent bulletins to all forces throughout the Soviet Union, describing the pattern 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. (Uzbekistan investigators did not link the two murders committed by Chikatilo in Tashkent to the series because in one instance, the victim had been beheaded and in the second instance, the mutilations upon the victim had been so extensive police had concluded the body had been caught in a harvesting machine.)
Upon his release from jail in December 1984, Chikatilo found new work in Novocherkassk and kept a low profile. He did not kill again until 31 July 1985, when he murdered a young woman named Natalia Pokhlistova in a thicket of woods close to Moscow's Domodedovo Airport. Based upon the hypothesis the killer had travelled from the Rostov Oblast to Moscow via air, investigators checked all Aeroflot flight records of passengers who had commuted between Moscow and the Rostov Oblast between late July and early August. On this occasion, however, Chikatilo had travelled to Moscow by train and as such, no documentation existed for investigators to research. One month later, on 27 August, Chikatilo killed another young woman, Irina Gulyaeva, in Shakhty. As had been the case with Natalia Pokhlistova, the wounds inflicted upon the victim linked her murder to the hunt for the serial killer.
In November 1985, 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 65-page psychological profile of the unknown murderer for the investigators, describing the killer as a man aged between 45 and 50 years old who was of average intelligence, likely to be married or previously married, but also a sadist who could achieve sexual arousal only by seeing his victims suffer. Because many of the killings had occurred on weekdays near mass transport hubs and across the entire Rostov Oblast, Bukhanovsky also argued 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 which had begun to appear in the press and keeping his homicidal urges under control. For almost a year following the August 1985 murder of Irina Gulyaeva, no further victims were found in either the Rostov or Moscow Oblasts whose bodies bore the signature mutilations of the unknown murderer. Investigators did tentatively link the murder of a 33-year-old woman named Lyubov Golovakha— found stabbed to death on 23 July 1986—to the investigation, although this was solely upon the bases that the killer's semen type matched that of the killer they were seeking; that the victim had been stripped naked prior to her murder and that she had been stabbed in excess of twenty times. The victim had not been dismembered or otherwise mutilated, nor had she been seen near mass transportation. Because of these discrepancies, many investigators cast serious doubts as to whether Golovakha's murder had been committed by the killer they were seeking.
On 18 August 1986, a victim was found buried in a depression of earth in the grounds of a collective farm in the city of Bataysk. The wounds inflicted upon this victim did seem to bear the trademark mutilations of victims linked to the manhunt killed between 1982 and 1985. The victim was an 18-year-old named Irina Pogoryelova. Pogoryelova's body bore all the trademark mutilations of the previous victims: her body been slit open from the neck to the genitalia, with one breast removed and her eyes cut out. As the murderer had made serious efforts to bury the body, some investigators theorized this may explain the sudden dearth in the number of victims found.
In 1987, Chikatilo killed three times. On each occasion the murder took place while he was 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 1987 was committed in May, when he killed a 13-year-old boy named Oleg Makarenkov in the Urals town of Revda. In July, he killed another boy in the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhia and a third in Leningrad in September.
In 1988, 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 1982 and 1985, 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 named Aleksey Voronko in Ilovaisk, Ukraine. The boy's wounds left no doubt the killer had struck again, and this murder was linked to the manhunt. On 14 July, Chikatilo killed a 15-year-old boy named Yevgeny Muratov at Donleskhoz station near Shakhty. Muratov's murder was also linked to the investigation, although his body was not found until April 1989.
Chikatilo did not kill again until 8 March 1989, when he killed a 16-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 four more victims, three of whom were killed in Rostov and Shakhty, although only two of the victims were linked to the killer.
On 14 January 1990, Chikatilo encountered an 11-year-old boy named Andrei Kravchenko standing outside a Shakhty theater. Kravchenko was lured to a secluded section of woodland; his emasculated body was found the following month. Seven weeks after Kravchenko's murder, on 7 March, Chikatilo lured a 10-year-old boy named Yaroslav Makarov from a Rostov train station to Rostov's Botanical Gardens. The eviscerated body was found the following day. On 11 March, 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 1984 had receded to a degree between 1985 and 1987, when Chikatilo had committed only three murders investigators had conclusively linked to the killer — all killed by 1986. However, by March 1990, a further six victims had been linked to the killer. Fetisov had noted laxity in some areas of the investigation, and warned that people would be fired if the killer was not caught soon.
Chikatilo had killed three further victims by August 1990: on 4 April, he lured a 31-year-old woman named Lyubov Zuyeva off a train and killed her in woodland near Donleskhoz station; on 28 July, he lured a 13-year-old boy named Viktor Petrov away from a Rostov railway station and killed him in Rostov's Botanical Gardens, and on 14 August, he killed an 11-year-old boy named Ivan Fomin in the reeds near Novocherkassk beach.
The discovery of more victims sparked a massive operation by the police. Because 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 January 1983 — suggested a plan to saturate all larger stations in the Rostov Oblast with an obvious uniformed police presence which the killer could not fail to notice. The intention was to discourage the killer from attempting to strike at any of these locations, and to have undercover agents patrol smaller and less busy stations, where the murderer's 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 his name and passport number. Police deployed a total of 360 men at all the stations in the Rostov Oblast, but only undercover officers were posted at the three smallest stations on the route through the oblast where the killer had struck most frequently — Kirpichnaya, Donleskhoz and Lesostep — in an effort to force the killer to strike at one of those three stations. The operation was implemented on 27 October 1990.
On 30 October, police found the body of a 16-year-old boy named Vadim Gromov at Donleskhoz station. Gromov had been killed on 17 October, 10 days before the start of the initiative. The same day Gromov's body was found, Chikatilo lured another 16-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 6 November 1990, Chikatilo killed and mutilated a 22-year-old woman named Svetlana Korostik in woodland near Donleskhoz station. While leaving the crime scene, he was observed 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 that Chikatilo's coat had grass and soil stains on 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), but Chikatilo was not dressed like a typical forest scavenger; 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, but had no formal reason to arrest him. When the policeman returned to his office, he filed a routine report, containing the name of the person he had stopped at the station.
On 13 November, Korostik's body was found; she was the thirty-sixth known victim linked to the manhunt. 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. Not only was Chikatilo's name among those reports, but it was familiar to several officers involved in the case, because he had been questioned in 1984, and had been placed upon a 1987 suspect list compiled and distributed throughout the Soviet Union. After checking with Chikatilo's present and previous employers, investigators were able to place him 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 that 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 14 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 and then seek another conversation partner. On 20 November, after six days of surveillance, Chikatilo left his house with a large jar, which he had filled with beer at a small kiosk in a local park, before he 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 his arrest, Chikatilo gave a statement claiming that the police were mistaken, and complained that he had also been arrested in 1984 for the same series of murders. A strip-search of the suspect revealed a further piece of evidence: one of Chikatilo's fingers had a flesh wound. Medical examiners concluded the wound was from a human bite. Chikatilo's penultimate victim was a physically strong 16-year-old. 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 treatment for the wound.
A search of Chikatilo's belongings revealed he had been in possession of a folding knife and two lengths of rope. A sample of Chikatilo's blood was taken and he 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 was performed by Issa Kostoyev. The strategy chosen by the police to elicit a confession was to lead Chikatilo to believe that he was a very sick man in need of medical help. The intention 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.
On 21 November, the results of Chikatilo's blood test again revealed his blood type to be type A and not type AB. Due to the amount of physical and circumstantial evidence investigators had thus far compiled which indicated Chikatilo was indeed the murderer they had been pursuing, plus the fact that investigators had deduced the blood type of the murderer they had pursued using semen samples obtained from the clothing and bodies of the victims as opposed to blood samples, investigators obtained a sample of Chikatilo's semen to test his blood type; the results of which confirmed that Chikatilo's semen was type AB, whereas his blood and saliva were type A. (Investigators had received a circular in 1988 indicating that in extremely rare cases, a man's blood type may differ from his semen and saliva type.)
Throughout the questioning, Chikatilo repeatedly denied that 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 predicted by Dr. Bukhanovsky in 1985. The interrogation tactics used by Kostoyev may also have caused Chikatilo to become defensive; the informer sharing a KGB cell with the suspect reported to police that Chikatilo had informed him that Kostoyev had repeatedly asked him direct questions regarding the mutilations inflicted upon the victims.
On 29 November, at the request of Burakov and Fetisov, Dr. Alexandr Bukhanovsky, the psychiatrist who had written the 1985 psychological profile of the then-unknown killer, was invited to assist in the questioning of the suspect. Bukhanovsky read extracts from his 65-page psychological profile to Chikatilo. Within two hours, Chikatilo confessed to Bukhanovsky that he was indeed guilty of the crimes for which he had been arrested. After conversing into the evening, Bukhanovsky reported to Burakov and Fetisov that Chikatilo was ready to confess.
Armed with the handwritten notes Bukhanovsky had prepared, Issa Kostoyev prepared a formal accusation of murder dated 29 November — the eve of the expiration of the ten-day period of time during which Chikatilo could legally be held before being charged.
The following morning, 30 November, Issa Kostoyev resumed the interrogation. According to the official protocol, Chikatilo confessed to 34 of the 36 murders police had linked to him, although he denied two additional murders committed in 1986 the police had initially believed he had committed: one of whom was Lyubov Golovakha, found stabbed to death in the town of Chaltyr in the Myasnikovsky District of Rostov on 23 July 1986 and whom investigators had had serious doubts about linking to the manhunt; the second was 18-year-old Irina Pogoryelova, found murdered in Bataysk on 18 August 1986 and whose mutilations closely matched those inflicted upon other victims linked to the manhunt. (Chikatilo would later specifically state in an outburst at his trial he had indeed killed Pogoryelova, whom he referred to by name in this outburst.)
Chikatilo gave a full, detailed description of each murder on the list of charges, all of which were consistent with known facts regarding each killing. When prompted, he could draw a rough sketch of various crime scenes, indicating the position of the victim's body and various landmarks in the vicinity of the crime scene. Additional details provided further proof of his guilt: one victim on the list of charges was a 19-year-old student named Anna Lemesheva, whom Chikatilo had killed on 19 July 1984 near Shakhty station. Chikatilo recalled that as he had fought to overpower her, she had stated that a man named 'Bars' would retaliate for his attacking her. Lemesheva's fiancé had the nickname 'Bars' tattooed on his hand.
|"The girl's cries and the way she moved while I was stabbing her drove me into a state of sexual frenzy."|
|Andrei Chikatilo confessing to the 1982 murder of 16-year-old Olga Kuprina|
In describing his victims, Chikatilo falsely referred to them as "déclassé elements" whom he would lure to secluded areas before killing. In many instances, particularly (though not exclusively) with his male victims, Chikatilo stated he would bind the victims' hands behind their back with a length of rope before he would proceed to kill them. The victims he would typically inflict a multitude of knife wounds upon; initially inflicting shallow knife wounds to the chest area before inflicting deeper stab and slash wounds—usually 30 to 50 in total—before proceeding to eviscerate the victim. He had, he stated, become adept at avoiding the spurts of blood from his victims' bodies as he inflicted the knife wounds and eviscerations upon them, adding that the victims' "cries, the blood and the agony gave me relaxation and a certain pleasure." When questioned as to why most of his later victims' eyes had been stabbed and/or slashed, but not enucleated as his earlier victims had been, Chikatilo stated that he had initially believed in an old superstition that the image of a murderer is left imprinted upon the eyes of the victim. However, he stated, in "later years," he had become convinced this was simply an old wives' tale and he had ceased to gouge out the eyes of his victims.
Chikatilo also informed Kostoyev he had often tasted the blood of his victims, to which he stated he "felt chills" and "shook all over." He also confessed to tearing at victims' genitalia, lips, nipples and tongues with his teeth. In several instances, Chikatilo would cut or bite off the tongue of his victim as he performed his eviscerations, then—either at or shortly after the point of death—run around the body as he held the tongue aloft in one hand. Although he also admitted that he had chewed upon the excised uterus of his female victims and the testicles of his male victims, he stated he had later discarded these body parts.
On 30 November, Chikatilo was formally charged with each of the 34 murders he had confessed to, all of which had been committed between June 1982 and November 1990.
Over the following days, Chikatilo confessed to a further 22 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. (Aleksandr Kravchenko received a posthumous pardon for Yelena Zakotnova's murder.)
In December 1990, Chikatilo led police to the body of Aleksey Khobotov, a boy he had confessed to killing in August 1989 and whom he had buried in woodland near a Shakhty cemetery, proving unequivocally that 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 1978 and 1990. He was held in the same cell in Rostov-on-Don where he had been detained on 20 November, to await trial.
On 20 August 1991, after police had completed their interrogation, including re-enactments 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 18 October. In December 1991, details of Chikatilo's arrest and a brief summary of his crimes were released to the newly liberated Russian media by police.
Chikatilo's trial was the first major media event of liberalized post-Soviet Russia. Proceedings commenced in Rostov on 14 April 1992. During the trial, Chikatilo was kept in an iron cage in a corner of the courtroom to protect him from attack by the many enraged and, often, hysterical relatives of his victims. Chikatilo's head had been shaved — a standard prison procedure, officially to prevent the spread of lice. Relatives of victims regularly shouted threats and insults at 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 repeatedly 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 13 May, Chikatilo withdrew his confessions to six of the killings, and in July 1992, he demanded that the judge be replaced for making too many rash remarks which assumed his guilt. His defense counsel backed the claim. Even the prosecutor supported the defense's claim, stating the judge had indeed made too many such comments. The judge ruled that the prosecutor be replaced instead.
On 9 August, both prosecution and defense delivered their closing arguments before the judge. Chikatilo again attempted to interrupt the proceedings and had to be removed from the courtroom. Following the closing arguments, the judge announced an initial date of 15 September to pass the final sentence upon Chikatilo. (This date was later postponed until 14 October.) As the final deliberations began, the brother of Lyudmila Alekseyeva, a 17-year-old girl killed by Chikatilo in August 1984, 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.
On 14 October, the court reconvened and the judge read the list of murders again, not finishing until the following day. On 15 October, Chikatilo was found guilty of 52 of the 53 murders and sentenced to death for each offense. He was also found guilty of five counts of sexual assault committed during the years he worked as a teacher in the 1970s. Chikatilo kicked his bench across his cage when he heard the verdict, and began shouting abuse. However, when given an opportunity to make a speech in response to the verdict, he remained silent. Upon passing final sentence, Judge Leonid Akhobzyanov made the following speech:
|“||Taking into consideration the monstrous crimes he committed, this court has no alternative but to impose the only sentence that he deserves. I therefore sentence him to death.||”|
Chikatilo was taken from the courtroom to his cell at Novocherkassk prison to await execution. He did file an appeal against his conviction with the Russian Supreme Court, but this appeal was rejected in 1993.
|Number||Name||Sex||Age||Date of Murder||Notes|
|1||Yelena Zakotnova||F||9||22 December 1978||Chikatilo's first victim. Accosted by Chikatilo while walking home from an ice-skating rink.|
|2||Larisa Tkachenko||F||17||3 September 1981||Approached by Chikatilo while waiting for a bus back to her boarding school.|
|3||Lyubov Biryuk||F||13||12 June 1982||Biryuk was abducted while returning from a shopping trip in the village of Donskoi.|
|4||Lyubov Volobuyeva||F||14||25 July 1982||Killed in an orchard near Krasnodar Airport. Her body was found 7 August.|
|5||Oleg Pozhidayev||M||9||13 August 1982||Chikatilo's first male victim. Pozhidayev was killed in Adygea. His body was never found.|
|6||Olga Kuprina||F||16||16 August 1982||Killed in Kazachi Lagerya. Her body was found 27 October.|
|7||Irina Karabelnikova||F||19||8 September 1982||Lured away from Shakhty station by Chikatilo. Her body was found 20 September.|
|8||Sergey Kuzmin||M||15||15 September 1982||A runaway from a boarding school. Kuzmin's body was found at Shakhty station in January 1983.|
|9||Olga Stalmachenok||F||10||11 December 1982||Lured off a bus while riding home from her piano lessons in Novoshakhtinsk.|
|10||Laura Sarkisyan||F||15||After 18 June 1983||Killed in woodland near an unmarked railway platform close to Shakhty. Chikatilo was cleared of this murder at his trial.|
|11||Irina Dunenkova||F||13||July 1983||Dunenkova's body was found in Aviators' Park, Rostov, on 8 August 1983.|
|12||Lyudmila Kutsyuba||F||24||July 1983||Killed in woodland near a Shakhty bus station. Her body was found 12 March 1984.|
|13||Igor Gudkov||M||7||9 August 1983||Chikatilo's youngest victim. He was killed in Aviators' Park, Rostov. Gudkov was the first male victim linked to the manhunt.|
|14||Unknown woman||F||18–25||July–August 1983||Chikatilo claimed he encountered this victim while she tried to find a "man (client) with a car."|
|15||Valentina Chuchulina||F||22||After 19 September 1983||Chuchulina's body was found on 27 November 1983 in a wooded area near Kirpichnaya station.|
|16||Vera Shevkun||F||19||27 October 1983||Killed in a mining village near Shakhty. Her body was found on 30 October.|
|17||Sergey Markov||M||14||27 December 1983||Disappeared while returning home from work experience. His body was found on 4 January 1984.|
|18||Natalya Shalapinina||F||17||9 January 1984||Killed in Aviators' Park, Rostov. Shalapinina had been a close friend of Olga Kuprina, killed by Chikatilo in 1982.|
|19||Marta Ryabenko||F||45||21 February 1984||Chikatilo's oldest victim. She was killed in Aviators' Park, Rostov.|
|20||Dmitriy Ptashnikov||M||10||24 March 1984||Lured from a stamp kiosk in Novoshakhtinsk by Chikatilo, who pretended to be a fellow collector.|
|21||Tatyana Petrosyan||F||32||25 May 1984||Murdered together with her daughter outside Shakhty. She had known Chikatilo since 1978.|
|22||Svetlana Petrosyan||F||11||25 May 1984||Svetlana saw Chikatilo murder her mother before he chased her and killed her with a hammer.|
|23||Yelena Bakulina||F||22||22 June 1984||Bakulina's body was found on 27 August in the Bagasenski region of Rostov.|
|24||Dmitriy Illarionov||M||13||10 July 1984||Vanished in Rostov while on his way to get a health certificate for summer camp.|
|25||Anna Lemesheva||F||19||19 July 1984||A student who disappeared on her way to visit a dentist. She was killed in Shakhty.|
|26||Svetlana Tsana||F||20||July 1984||Originally from Riga. Her body was found on 9 September 1984 in Aviators' Park, Rostov.|
|27||Natalya Golosovskaya||F||16||2 August 1984||Vanished on a visit to Novoshakhtinsk, where she was to visit her sister. She was killed in Aviators' Park, Rostov.|
|28||Lyudmila Alekseyeva||F||17||7 August 1984||A student lured from a bus stop by Chikatilo, who offered to direct her to Rostov's bus terminal.|
|29||Unknown woman||F||20–25||8–11 August 1984||Killed in Tashkent by Chikatilo while on a business trip to the Uzbek SSR.|
|30||Akmaral Seydaliyeva||F||12||13 August 1984||A runaway from Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan, also killed by Chikatilo in Tashkent.|
|31||Aleksandr Chepel||M||11||28 August 1984||Killed on the banks of the Don River, near where Alekseyeva had been killed.|
|32||Irina Luchinskaya||F||24||6 September 1984||A Rostov librarian, killed by Chikatilo in Aviators' Park, Rostov.|
|33||Natalya Pokhlistova||F||18||31 July 1985||Lured off a train by Chikatilo near Domodedovo Airport, Moscow Oblast. Her body was found on 3 August.|
|34||Irina Gulyayeva||F||18||27 August 1985||Killed in a grove of trees near Shakhty bus station. Her body was found the following day.|
|35||Oleg Makarenkov||M||13||16 May 1987||Killed in Revda, Sverdlovsk Oblast. Chikatilo led police to Makarenkov's remains after his arrest.|
|36||Ivan Bilovetskiy||M||12||29 July 1987||Killed in woodland alongside a rail line in the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhia. His body was found by his own father on 30 July.|
|37||Yuri Tereshonok||M||16||15 September 1987||Lured off a train in Leningrad. Chikatilo led police to his remains after his arrest.|
|38||Unknown woman||F||18–25||1–4 April 1988||Killed near Krasny Sulin station. Her body was found on 6 April.|
|39||Aleksey Voronko||M||9||15 May 1988||Voronko was killed near a station in the Ukrainian city of Ilovaisk; on the Rostov–Ukraine rail route.|
|40||Yevgeniy Muratov||M||15||14 July 1988||The first victim killed near Rostov since 1985. Muratov's body was found on 10 April 1989.|
|41||Tatyana Ryzhova||F||16||8 March 1989||A runaway from Krasny Sulin, she was killed in Chikatilo's own daughter's apartment.|
|42||Aleksandr Dyakonov||M||8||11 May 1989||Killed in Rostov city centre the day after his 8th birthday. His body was found on 14 July.|
|43||Aleksey Moiseyev||M||10||20 June 1989||Killed in Vladimir Oblast, east of Moscow. Chikatilo confessed to this murder after his arrest.|
|44||Helena Varga||F||19||19 August 1989||A student from Hungary who had a child. She was lured off a bus and killed in a village near Rostov.|
|45||Aleksey Khobotov||M||10||28 August 1989||Vanished from outside a theater in Shakhty. Chikatilo led police to his remains after his arrest.|
|46||Andrey Kravchenko||M||11||14 January 1990||Lured from a cinema by Chikatilo. He was in killed in Shakhty. Kravchenko's body was found on 19 February.|
|47||Yaroslav Makarov||M||10||7 March 1990||Lured from a Rostov station by Chikatilo. He was killed in Rostov Botanical Gardens.|
|48||Lyubov Zuyeva||F||31||4 April 1990||Lured off a train near the Donleskhoz station near Shakhty. Her body was found on 24 August.|
|49||Viktor Petrov||M||13||28 July 1990||Killed in Rostov Botanical Gardens, a few yards from where Makarov had been murdered.|
|50||Ivan Fomin||M||11||14 August 1990||Killed at Novocherkassk municipal beach. His body was found on 17 August.|
|51||Vadim Gromov||M||16||17 October 1990||A mentally handicapped student from Shakhty. Gromov vanished while riding the train to Taganrog.|
|52||Viktor Tishchenko||M||16||30 October 1990||Killed in Shakhty. Tishchenko fought hard for his life; he was the victim who bit and broke Chikatilo's finger.|
|53||Svetlana Korostik||F||22||6 November 1990||Chikatilo's last victim. Her body was found 13 November in woodland near Donleskhoz station.|
Judge Leonid Akhobzyanov cleared Chikatilo of the murder of 15-year-old Laura Sarkisyan at his trial due to insufficient evidence. Sarkisyan, a runaway from Armenia, was last seen by her family on June 18. In his confessions to police, Chikatiilo had stated he had killed an Armenian girl in the early summer of 1983 and that she had been killed in a stretch of woodland located near Kirpichnaya station. Although Chikatilo had been unable to identify Sarkisyan's picture when presented to him, the timing of Sarkisyan's disappearance and Chikatilo's physical description both of the victim, her clothing, and where he had killed her did match scattered, partial skeletal remains and personal effects which, although determined as being those of a female in her early- to mid-teens, could not be precisely identified.
Although he had at one stage denied having committed six of the murders for which he had been brought to trial, Chikatilo never specifically disputed Sarkisyan as being a victim of his.
Four books have been written about the case of Andrei Chikatilo: