- Radik Tagirov gained access to his targets’ apartments in the pretext of helping them with their bags
- He chose to strangle the victims as he believed that it was “fast and painless”
- The only survivor was a blind woman who could not describe the attacker
A 38-year-old man who targeted and murdered at least 26 elderly women between 2011 and 2012 has been arrested in Russia.
Radik Tagirov, nicknamed “Volga maniac,” was listed as a long-wanted serial killer and was arrested by the law enforcement officers Tuesday from the city of Kazan in southwestern Russia. Tagirov got the nickname because most of his murders were committed in 12 different cities along the Volga river.
Tagirov admitted to the police that he targeted elderly women, between 75 and 90 years old, by posing as a social service or utility worker. After gaining access to their apartments, he strangled the women with his hands or other objects and stole valuables and money.
Police released a video Tuesday that showed Tagirov admitting that he committed the murders. He did not specify the number of murders or when he committed the first one.
When asked about the motive behind the first murder, he said it happened spontaneously. “I wanted to eat. I lived partly on the street,” he added, reported CBS News. He said he chose to strangle them as he believed it was “quiet, fast and painless for them.”
Tagirov also told investigators that he picked his targets randomly from nearby markets or shops and sometimes, he gained access to their homes in the pretext of helping them with their bags, reported CNN. “Sometimes they invited me in, sometimes I talked them into it.. then I strangled them from the back and held until they fall asleep,” he said.
Police used DNA evidence and shoe prints collected from the crime scenes to identify Tagirov. He was a mechanic in Kazan and was previously convicted for theft. He reportedly committed his first murder in 2011. The investigators soon found several murders with a similar pattern in the city the same year.
Investigators said the actual number of victims could be up to 32. The sole survivor of the murder series was a blind woman who could not describe the attacker. In 2017, the federal investigators had promised a reward of 3 million rubles ($40,000) for any information leading to the suspect.