After Chikatilo killed Lena Zakotnova on Dec. 22, 1978, police were able to draw a sketch based on a description given by Svetlana Gurenkova. She had seen Chikatilo and Zakotnova walking together. Chikatilo was questioned, but released when his wife said that he had been home that evening. Alexsandr Krachenko, a man with a previous arrest record, was arrested and sentenced to death for the murder of Zakotnova.
In 1983, the police were confused by Chikatilo's choice of both female and male victims. The regime in Russia refused to accept that such things could happen in the Soviet Union. They thought the crimes had been committed by different offenders.
After September of 1983, the Moscow militia sent Major Mikhail to take over the investigation. He was the first to propose that there was only one perpetrator. Although it was clear they had a serial killer on their hands, they were not able to use the words "serial killer" because such a thing was from the Western world and could not happen in the Soviet Union. The case became unofficially known as "Lesopolosa" or "Forest Strip Killings."
Aleksandr Bukhanovsky, a psychiatrist, created a profile of the killer. He said he was about 5 feet 10 inches tall, 25-50 years old, with a shoe size of 10 or more. He also proposed that the killer's sexual inadequacy made him brutalize the victims. Semen samples found on some of the victims indicated a blood type AB.
Aleksandr Zanosovsky, an officer in charge of patrolling the Rostov bus station, saw Chikatilo and asked him for his identification. Everything looked fine to the officer, but he had an uneasy feeling about the man. Police followed Chikatilo around the station and watched as he tried to talk to women. When they asked for his papers again, he began sweating.
The police searched his briefcase, finding rope, a jar of Vaseline and a long-bladed knife. He was arrested and charged with harassing women in public in order to give the police some time to investigate his background. They quickly found that he was under investigation for theft from the company he worked for. This was a serious charge that allowed them to hold Chikatilo longer.
However, a blood test indicated that Chikatilo had type A blood. The B antigens were not strong enough to show up. He was dismissed as the killer, but was still sentenced to one year in prison for stealing. He was also expelled from the Communist party to which he belonged.
In December of 1984, after serving three months, he was released.
In 1988, after Chikatilo had claimed more victims, a thorough investigative search was under way. Police were patrolling all of the stations in the areas where the victims were found.
As a result of the police patrols, Chikatilo did not kill for two years. It was later found that he was one of the volunteers helping the militia patrol the trains. After he learned where they were watching, Chikatilo started killing once again.
In the middle of 1990, a ticket attendant at a train station said that he had seen Chikatilo with one of his victims. His daughter, who also worked at the station, said that she had seen Chikatilo many times and noticed that he spent a lot of time talking to young people. She was able to provide police with a detailed description of Chikatilo.
After Chikatilo mutilated and ate parts of 22-year-old Svetlana Korostik, he returned to the station that was nearby. There, Sergeant Igor Rybakov saw him sweating. Chikatilo had blood on his cheeks and earlobe, as well as a bandage on his right hand. He wanted to arrest Chikatilo, but had no legitimate reason to hold him.
On Nov. 20, 1990, Chikatilo left work to have an X-Ray on his finger. He was arrested later that day on his way to get a beer. He did not resist arrest.
Once again, police found rope, a jar of Vaseline and a knife in his briefcase. In his apartment, they found 23 knives, a hammer and shoes that matched a shoe print that was found by the body of one of his victims.
Chikatilo denied any crimes.
One week after the investigation started, he wrote a letter to Prosecutor General of Russia. He did not say that he had committed the murders, but gave the police a look into his mind.
"I felt a kind of madness and ungovernability in perverted sexual acts. I couldn't control my actions, because from childhood I was unable to realize myself as a real man and a complete human being," wrote Chikatilo in his letter.
After sending the letter, he confessed that he had assaulted his former students.
Chikatilo wrote another letter to the Prosecutor General, saying that he did not want to use his claim to a lack of control over his actions as an excuse for what he had done. He said that he found his murders to be hideous crimes and that he would prefer that he not be asked details about them during trial because it was too much for him to handle.
On Nov. 30, Bukhanovsky was called upon to try to break through a mental barrier that Chikatilo seemed to be hiding behind.
On Dec. 5, Chikatilo described in great detail how he tracked, raped and killed 34 people. He had been charged of killing 36, the other two of which would be solved at a later time.
He continued to describe his killings in later days, describing a total of 52 brutal attacks. As he described the murders, he told of how he had removed their body parts and drank their blood. He also said that he had eaten the body parts. The police gave him a mummy on which he demonstrated his methods of attack. He had perfected the angles at which to stab his victims so that the blood would squirt away from him.
His victim total was 53.
Source: Court TV's Crime Library
|Copyright © 2003 Heather Rawlins|