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Investigation shows Siberian cop-turned-serial killer behind 81 murders

January 12, 2017, 13:06 UTC+3 IRKUTSK

The investigators did not rule out that the murderer may be found insane, noting that during the first criminal investigation the serial killer was diagnosed with homicidomania

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© Artiom Geodakyan/TASS

IRKUTSK, January 12. /TASS/. Former policeman Mikhail Popkov, who is serving a life sentence for murdering 22 women in Russia’s southeastern Siberia in the late 1990s, may have killed more than 80 women, special investigator in the Irkutsk Region told reporters on Thursday.

"The investigative department is now looking into a criminal case into 59 episodes of Popkov’s criminal activity, who was earlier convicted for 22 murders. He has been charged with another 47 killings. An additional 12 murder counts will soon be filed," Yevgeny Karchevsky said.

The ex-cop, who was dubbed "The Werewolf," will be charged for all slayings after undergoing a psychological examination. The materials of the case, containing more than 300 volumes, will be handed to the Irkutsk district court for a hearing on the case’s merits.

"During his confession, Popkov did not seek any leniency whatsoever, nor does he want a plea bargain. Perhaps, he wants to close the books on this criminal ‘career,’ " the investigator noted.

The investigator did not rule out that Popkov may be found insane, noting that during the first criminal investigation, the serial killer was diagnosed with homicidomania, a mental illness demonstrating a preoccupation to commit murder.

The ex-policeman was handed a life sentence in January 2015 after he was found guilty of murdering 22 women and attempting to murder another two. At that time it came to light that he might be complicit in another 20 similar killings, to which he admitted to. According to state prosecutors, he repeatedly boasted to his cellmates about the crimes he had committed.

Angarsk murder spree

Investigators established that Popkov, born in 1964, went on a killing spree between 1994 and 2010, murdering women in the Angarsk and Irkutsk regions.

According to the investigation data, women kept disappearing during the evenings and late nights from public places throughout the city of Angarsk. Their mutilated bodies later turned up in the southeastern districts of Siberia's Irkutsk Region. The search to find the killer involved police sifting through 30,000 possible suspects to identify the culprit.

In many cases, the police found tire tracks left by a Niva cross country vehicle at the crime scenes. Law-enforcement agencies combed through automobile registrations of all local residents who owned these types of vehicles. These clues helped identify Popkov who was employed as a policeman at that time but quit in 1998.

Popkov was detained in 2012 in Vladivostok, in Russia’s Far East. Initially, he confessed to three murders but the investigation further proved that the suspected serial killer was behind 22 murders and two attempted murders.

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