RUSSIAN authorities Tuesday detained a long-wanted serial killer, known as the “Volga maniac,” suspected of murdering at least 26 elderly women between 2011 and 2012.
38-year-old Radik Tagirov was arrested by law enforcement operatives in the city of Kazan in southwestern Russia early Tuesday as part of a criminal investigation into the murders that authorities have attributed to a single person.
Tagirov had previously been convicted in 2009 for theft. Investigators said in a statement that the suspect was identified using DNA evidence and shoe prints obtained from the crime scenes.
Earlier local media reports indicate that most of his victims were elderly women, between 75 and 90 years old, who lived alone. Investigators said that the suspect posed as a social services or utilities worker to enter the apartments.
Once inside, the suspect strangled the women with hands or nearby objects, and he often took some valuables and money from their homes. In 2017, federal investigators tripled the original reward from 1 million to 3 million rubles (about $40,000) for information that would help identify the killer.
Reports suggest that the total number of his victims could be up to 32, what made him one of the most prolific serial killers in modern Russia.
In a video released by the police online, a handcuffed Tagirov could be seen admitting he committed murders but he didn’t specify how many.
Tagirov said that he chose to strangle the women as he thought it was “quiet, fast” and “painless for them.”
The suspect reportedly committed his first murder back in 2011 in Kazan. Within months that year several more women were found in the same city. One managed to survive, but she was blind and could not describe the attacker.