Russian Police Arrest 'Volga Maniac' Suspected of Killing Dozens of Elderly Women

Authorities in Russia say they have arrested a serial killer who has confessed to targeting and strangling dozens of female pensioners.

Police detained Radik Tagirov, 38, in Kazan, the capital of Tartarstan, located about 500 miles east of Moscow, as part of an investigation into the killings, which took place between March 2011 and September 2012.

Investigators said Tagirov had been identified through his DNA and other evidence left at the crime scenes at the properties of the women, who were aged between 75 and 90 years old.

He was dubbed by the Russian media as the "Volga Maniac" because many of his victims were from cities such as Kazan, Samara, Perm and Saratov, located along Europe's longest river. Police say he also carried out crimes in the cities Chelyabinsk, Ekaterinburg and Ufa.

Pretending to be a tradesman, he would con his way into the homes of the women and then overpower them. He strangled them using either his hands or nearby objects. Careful not to leave traces of his presence, he wore gloves and would sterilize the crime scenes.

Russia's investigative committee said in a statement that Tagirov had been arrested in connection with 26 murders in crimes across 12 regions that "had remained unsolved for a long time."

Russia's internal affairs ministry released a video in which they say Tagirov admits his guilt. A video of a man being questioned shows him being asked "Do you understand that this will result in life imprisonment?" The man in the video replied "yes."

He said that he had identified his victims "by chance" in markets and would follow them home. He said he strangled them because he wanted to rob them and it seemed that it was "painless for them." Suspected to be behind other killings in the region, he cannot remember how many victims he may have.

The Real Times News website said that in 2005, Tagirov had been convicted of illegal arms trafficking and in 2009 he was convicted of theft and robbery.

There was a respite to the killings in 2013. However, there were renewed fears among the public following a killing spree in 2017. This prompted the authorities to publicize a detailed psychological portrait of the suspect and offered a three million rouble ($40,000) reward for information leading to his capture.

The Kazan Fortress in the city of Kazan on the Volga River. A suspected serial killer was arrested in the city in connection with the murders of at least 26 pensioners. Getty Images