Case Studies
The Gruesome Murders by Andrei Chikatilo: The Soviet Ripper

The Gruesome Murders by Andrei Chikatilo: The Soviet Ripper

The soviet union was dissolved in the year 1988 following hierarchical political controversies and internalizations. However, before the formation of Russia, the Soviets hardly faced huge crimes as a result of strong police forces and paramilitaries. Andrei Chikatilo though was an exception. Chikatilo terrorized the Soviets for months until he was finally executed in 1994.

Andrei Chikatilo was born on 16 October 1936, in Yabluchnyk, Ukraine SSR, Soviet Union.  His family was one among the millions of poor families in the village as they were under severe famine attacks. He used to eat only bread and grass until he was 12 years old. Andrei’s father was taken by the Red Army as a prisoner during the second world war and was found dead after a month. He had a younger sister who was born after his mom was raped. Their mom was abusive and domineering.

Andrei was not a regular child. He grew up to be a shy person and was extremely conscious of his body as he was very weak. Due to a lack of nutritious food, his stomach used to get bloated with gastric trouble, and he often fainted at school. This caused him to be bullied by other children.

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 party committee two years later. An avid reader of communist literature, he has also delegated the task of organizing street marches.

Although Chikatilo claimed learning did not come easy to him due to headaches and 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 women. In addition to suffering from poverty and hunger, from a very young age, Chikatilo suffered from hydrocephalus, the build-up of water in the brain.

Hydrocephalus is known to be caused by too much cerebrospinal fluid in the brain and can cause substantial damage to brain tissues, as well as impairments in brain function. He also had heavy damage in his urinary tract which caused him to wet his bed very often.

Profile and Mental Health

Andrei Chikatilo started committing crimes in his late teens. He was also called as Butcher of Rostov, Forest strip killer, Red Ripper, as well as the Rostov Ripper. He once stated an incident to the psychologist who counseled him during the trial.

He had an elder brother who was eaten by his neighbors as they suffered extreme hunger due to the famine. As a result of witnessing this, he was mentally disturbed since childhood.

Homicides Committed by Andrei Chikatilo

Andrei joined a high school as a teacher post his failures of finding a job. However, he was charged with sexual abuse and was thrown out of the school after he groped two teenage girls who were his students. 

Chikatilo’s first-ever recorded murder was on December 22, 1978, when he killed a nine-year-old girl named Yelena and mutilated her body. However, during the occurrence of the crime, Andrei was not suspected. The body was found after two days.

Pedestrians described Yelena talking to a man and this made the police arrest Aleksandr Kravchenko, a 25-year-old laborer who also served a previous rape conviction. 

On September 3rd, 1989, Larisa Tkachenko, a 17-year-old girl went missing. Two days after her body was found, it was discovered that she was mutilated in the same pattern in which Yelena’s body was tortured. But at this time Aleksandr was serving his prison days. This incident turned the angle of investigation. After Larisa, furthermore, bodies of young girls and boys surfaced in Yabluchnyk.

The death rate increased and infuriated the public, especially since all the corpses were heavily mutilated and the girl victims were severely raped. Serial killers simply weren’t a thing in the Soviet Union, or at least they weren’t known to be a thing.

Reports from newspapers stating that evidence of child abuse or serial killing was often suppressed by the state-controlled media for public order. However, Chikatilo’s modus operandi of eye mutilation had caused so much commotion that Soviet authorities had to admit that they had a serial killer on the loose, which led to heightened fear in the area.

Modus Operandi of His Crimes

None of the death series could be connected with one particular method of killing. However, the common modus operandi in all the murders was that the victim’s eyeball from the right eye was scooped out followed by further mutilation around the cavity and slits throughout the body.

Andrei lured young boys and girls into nearby forests from railway stations or bus stops and would proceed to rape (in the case of girls), murder, and mutilate their bodies.

He targeted kids who were usually in the process of escaping poverty. This probably could have been the aftermath of what he suffered as a child during the famine.

Investigation, Arrest and Trial of Andrei Chikatilo

Major Mikhail Fetisov was assigned as the investigator in charge of the case. He acknowledged the fact that a serial killer is out there and immediately caught up with a forensic expert and started collecting potential crime scene dropouts with a deep investigation.

Not all the bodies could be found consecutively, however out of all of them found, the major evidence obtained was a peculiar strand of grey hair and the semen samples. The semen sample post DNA analysis was found to match that of Andrei’s.

After the last mistake of arresting the wrong criminal, this time police ran a thorough background check. This led them to shocking revelations of how he had abused his students, co-workers, and killed many people from the area. 

Chikatilo’s blood group was A because his blood and saliva had a different blood type from his semen. In genetics, Chikatilo is called a non-secretor, where his blood type differed between his red blood cells and secreting cells.

Since police only had semen samples, Andrei Chikatilo escaped suspicion initially due to the quality of DNA techniques at that time. He was arrested in August 1992 and he confessed to molesting pupils as a teacher but repeatedly denied the murders.

The trial went on for a short period as there was clear-cut evidence against him and he was finally stated guilty on October 15, 1992. He was given the death sentence at the end of the trial and was shot in the head by the force on February 14, 1994.

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