Couple Staged 5-Year-Old's Disappearance to Cover Up His Killing: Police

A man who allegedly battered his 5-year-old stepson to death and buried his body in a shallow grave has been arrested by police.

Sergei Bugorkov, 28, even persuaded the boy's mother to stage a fake disappearance to cover up the death of her son, Vova Pashschenko, police say.

Prosecutors in the Krasnodar Krai region of southern Russia have charged Bugorkov with the murder of a minor.

Suspect Sergei Bugorkov arrested in stepson's death
Sergei Bugorkov, 28, was arrested for allegedly battering his 5-year-old stepson, Vova Pashchenko (inset), to death and then burying his body, police say. IC of Russia in the Krasnodar Territory/Zenger

According to police, closed-circuit video footage from the family's apartment block shows Bugorkov carrying the boy's body away zipped inside a checkered laundry bag.

Later, Bugorkov and Vova's mother - named only as Alena, 31 - staged a riverside family picnic close to where Bugorkov buried the boy's body, and the couple later told police he had ran after a cat and they never saw him again.

Police gave the following account of Vova's death:

Bugorkov reportedly flew into a rage on June 8 when a quarrel broke out between him and the boy. He allegedly punched and kicked the youngster over and over again, raining blows all over his head and body.

Following the attack, everyone simply went to bed. When the family woke up the following morning, they found the young boy dead.

To hide the slaying, Bugorkov bagged up the child's body and took it to an area of woods on the banks of the Kuban river in the Gidrostroy area, where he buried it in a shallow grave.

Sergei Bugorkov carrying boy's body
Police say closed-circuit video footage from the family's apartment block shows Sergei Bugorkov carrying the boy's body zipped inside a checkered laundry bag. IC of Russia in the Krasnodar Territory/Zenger

The family went to the riverbank on the evening of June 10, where they staged the boy's disappearance with a family picnic.

His mother told the police they had gone for a family evening out and her son had run after a cat and disappeared. Officers scoured the area and found the boy's corpse, which was sent for an autopsy.

It is not clear what led the police to suspect the parents of involvement, but it may have been when they reviewed the footage from the security camera in the apartment building.

The boy's mother has not been remanded in custody, but she is also under investigation.

The Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for Krasnodar Krai said in a statement: "According to the investigation, on the evening of June 8, 2022, the man, along with his wife and children, was at home, in an apartment located on Tyulyaeva Street.

"There, a conflict arose between him and the five-year-old son of his wife. During the quarrel, the defendant struck the child's head with his hand, after which everyone went to bed.

"Waking up in the morning, the couple found the boy with no signs of life.

"In order to hide the traces of the crime committed, the attacker placed the child's body in a bag and took it to a forest belt on the banks of the Kuban River in the Gidrostroy area, where he buried it."

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.