Andrei Chikatilo, Part 2: The Butcher of Rostov

Although Andrei Chikatilo attempted his first assault at seventeen years old, records indicate that he did not succeed until he was thirty-seven and working as a teacher in Novoshakhtinsk in 1973.

He would go on to assault and murder dozens of women and children in the seventeen years that followed.

Teaching Career

We left off just after Chikatilo married a woman Feodosia Odnacheva, and the couple found a way to have two children in 1965 and 1969, even though he was impotent.

Before his first child was born, in 1964, Andrei began a correspondence education through Rostov University. He graduated in 1970 with a degree in Russian Literature and Philology. He managed regional sports activities for a year after graduating, and then began his first Russian language and Literature teaching job in the city of Novoshakhtinsk.

According to reports, Chikatilo was not a good teacher. He was extremely knowledgeable in his subject, most likely due to his memorization skills, but struggled to control his classes. He was also reportedly mocked and bullied by his students.

First Assaults

Chikatilo committed his first confirmed sexual assault in May of 1973. He restrained and groped a fifteen-year-old female student in a pool, ejaculating as she struggled to escape. A few months later, he repeated the assault while locked in a classroom with another female student.

Colleagues would later report that they had witnessed him fondling himself in front of students on many occasions. Part of his job was ensuring that students who lived at the school were in their rooms at night; he would allegedly enter the girls’ dormitory in an attempt to see them unclothed.

Although students reported each of these incidents to the school, they took no action until months later. The director of the school told Chikatilo that he could leave voluntarily, or the school would fire him due to the complaints that students had filed against him, he resigned.

Chikatilo accepted a post at a different school in Novoshakhtinsk in January 1974 and worked there until there were staff cutbacks in September 1978.

His last teaching job, in a town called Shakhty, lasted from 1978 until 1981 when his teaching career ended, due to several child molestation complaints filed against him.

The Butcher of Rostov

Andrei Chikatilo killed and mutilated at least fifty-two women and children between 1978 and 1990 in the Russian SFSR, the Ukrainian SSR, and the Uzbek SSR.

The First Victim: Yelena Zakotnova

In September 1978 Chikatilo and his family moved to a new town, Shakhty, for what would be his last teaching job. This new town would be important for another reason, it’s where he killed his first confirmed victim: Yelena Zakotnova.

Yelena Zakotnova, 9 Years Old

On December 22nd, just three months after he moved to town, a nine-year-old girl was reported missing. Authorities found the body of the missing child, Yelena Zakotnova, two days later, on Christmas Eve.

Much later, after his arrest in 1990, Chikatilo detailed Yelena’s murder. He told authorities that he lured her to a house, purchased in secret, where he first attempted to rape her. When he didn’t succeed, he became angry. He became more enraged as the girl struggled to get away, and he stabbed her three times in the abdomen.

The stabbing didn’t kill Yelena; he told police that she tried to speak, and he strangled her and dumped her into the Grushevka River once she lost consciousness.

A substantial amount of evidence pointed to Chikatilo as a suspect:

  • Police found blood in the snow near his house.
  • Neighbors saw him in the house on the evening she disappeared.
  • Investigators found her backpack next to the river at the end of the street his house was on.
  • Yelena went missing near a bus stop; an eyewitness described seeing a man resembling Chikatilo talking with her around the time she disappeared.

Despite all of the evidence that linked Chikatilo to the murder, they arrested another man, Aleksandr Kravchenko. The twenty-five-year-old laborer had already served time in prison for the rape and murder of a teenage girl. When police searched Kravchenko’s house, they found a shirt with blood that matched Yelena’s type; it was also Kravchenko’s wife’s blood type.

Initially, Kravchenko had an airtight alibi, corroborated by neighbors; he had been at home with his wife and a friend all afternoon. According to later reports, police coerced Kravchanko’s wife and her friend into changing their statements. They reportedly threatened to charge the friend with perjury and told his wife they would charge her as an accomplice to the murder.

After the women changed their statements, Kravchenko confessed to the murder but retracted it once his case went to trial. The court found him guilty for killing Yelena in 1979 and sentenced him to death. In 1980, he won an appeal, and the court commuted his sentence to 15 years in prison. Three years later, after extreme pressure from Yelena’s relatives, he was re-tried and sentenced to death.

Aleksandr Kravchenko was executed by firing squad for the murder of Yelena Zakotnova in July of 1983.

Larisa Tkachenko

Three years after the murder of Yelena Zakotnova, Chikatilo took his next life. After his arrest, Chikatilo explained to police that, in those three years, he tried to resist the urges he felt, but was unable to achieve any sexual release unless he was stabbing or slashing a woman. Reportedly, the urge to commit another murder overwhelmed Chikatilo, and he killed again.

On September 3rd, 1981, Chikatilo met a seventeen-year-old student at a bus stop; her name was Larisa Tkachenko. He later told police that he convinced Larisa to go with him to a nearby river to drink vodka and relax. Once they were alone, Chikatilo attempted to rape Larisa but was unable to achieve an erection.

He pushed mud into her mouth to make her screams stop, before beating and strangling her. Since this victim was unplanned, he did not have a knife with him, so he used his teeth and a stick to mutilate her body. Chikatilo left Larisa’s body where she had died; he covered her with leaves, branches, and newspapers. Authorities found Larisa’s body the next day.

July – September, 1982

On June 12th, 1982, nine months after Chikatilo murdered Larisa; he murdered thirteen-year-old Lyubov Biryuk while they were each walking home from a shopping trip.

After authorities found Luybov’s body on June 27th, the coroner noted twenty-two stab wounds on her head, neck, chest, and pelvic region. They also found striations in her eye sockets, and blunt trauma wounds on her skull that suggested her killer had attacked her from behind.

There were long periods between Chikatilo’s first three victims; he would later tell police that he was trying to resist the urge to kill again. After the murder of Lyubov Biryuk, he gave in to his destructive nature and killed almost indiscriminately.

Between July and December of 1982, Andrei Chikatilo murdered six additional victims. All were between the ages of nine and eighteen; he would approach them at bus stops or train stations, lure them to a secluded area, and viciously murder them. Some were strangled or beaten to death, but most of his victims were stabbed, slashed, or eviscerated.

All of his adult victims were female and were typically homeless, or prostitutes and his adolescent victims were both male and female. He lured all of his victims, with various promises, to secluded areas before overpowering and murdering them. He usually made minimal effort to conceal the bodies, mostly using leaves and paper to cover them.

Read More about The Butcher of Rostov:

1: Early Life
2: The Butcher of Rostov
3: The Investigation
4: Under Arrest
5: The End

Sources:

https://www.biography.com/crime-figure/andrei-chikatilo
https://www.britannica.com/biography/Andrei-Romanovich-Chikatilo
https://www.nytimes.com/1992/10/15/world/russian-court-finds-ex-teacher-guilty-in-the-killing-of-52.html
https://murderpedia.org/male.C/c/chikatilo.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrei_Chikatilo

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