Crime Watch

Police Arrest Best Man in Girlfriend's Death

Jun 07, 2006
The Moscow Times

The best man at a local wedding was arrested during the reception on Saturday and charged with strangling his girlfriend and burying her body in a forest outside Moscow in what police say was a fake kidnapping gone awry.

The suspect, 22, was arrested at a restaurant near Krasniye Vorota metro station in northeast Moscow after a local businessman reported to police that his daughter had been kidnapped and was being held for a $20,000 ransom, Regnum.ru reported Monday, citing police sources.

City police spokeswoman Yana Olifir referred all inquiries regarding the arrest to the city prosecutor's office, whose spokesman, Sergei Marchenko, directed requests for comment to Eduard Artyukhov, chief prosecutor for Moscow's northeast district. Artyukhov could not be reached Tuesday.

Police sources told Itar-Tass, however, that the 45-year-old businessman went to police Thursday after receiving a call that his 19-year-old daughter had been kidnapped.

The anonymous caller ordered the businessman to wire $20,000 into a certain bank account if he wanted his daughter returned alive, the police source told Itar-Tass.

Two days after the kidnapping was reported, police caught up with the daughter's boyfriend at the wedding reception, only hours after he had served as his friend's best man in the marriage ceremony, police told Regnum.ru.

During questioning, the suspect said that because of financial difficulties, he needed to drum up a large amount of money, Regnum.ru reported.

He hatched a plan to fake her kidnapping and force her wealthy father to pay the ransom, but after she tried to abandon the plan, he strangled her and buried her body in Tomlinsky Park in the Moscow region district of Lubertsy, where he had his dacha, the news web site said, citing police sources.

Lubertsy is located on the southeast outskirts of the capital.

Police said he killed the young woman on Friday.

The suspect, whose name has not been released, was charged with murder and could face life in prison if convicted.

The victim was a second-year student at Moscow University Touro, an institute affiliated with Touro College in New York whose curriculum includes an MBA program.

Olga Rogatina, acting curriculum director at MUT, which currently has around 360 students, said the institute was in shock over the murder of the young woman, whom she declined to name out of respect for the family.

"She was a wonderful student, very responsible and serious," Rogatina said.

"When students came for exams on June 2, it was an emergency situation. This has been very hard for us."


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