A Russian couple, arrested on suspicion of murdering a woman and eating her flesh after construction workers discovered a cellphone with graphic images of a man posing with a dismembered hand in his mouth, have reportedly admitted to kidnapping and eating at least 30 people over an 18-year time span.
The phone, discovered on September 11, had several other snapshots of a dismembered woman. It was immediately turned over to authorities, the Moscow Times reported, and was traced to the couple living in a hostel at a military facility in the south-west Russian city of Krasnodar, where a raid uncovered body parts in a salt solution.
Printed photographs, including one of a severed head on a platter with fruit, were also found in the apartment. That photo was dated Dec. 28, 1999.
The dismembered body of a 35-year-old woman, along with a bag of her belongings, were reportedly also found at the military academy where Dmitry Baksheev, 35, lives with his 42-year-old wife Natalia.
Officials believe that Dmitry killed the woman in a drunken fight in wasteland on September 8 and then cut up her body while his wife was present.
“After carrying out the crime, the man took photographs of himself with some fragments of the dead woman’s body with his cell phone camera,” investigators said.
A source in the law enforcement authorities told RIA Novosti news agency that among other things recovered from the Baksheev’s home was “a jar containing a preserved hand” and “bits of food and frozen pieces of meat of unknown origin” in the kitchen. They are being tested for human DNA.
Police have uncovered numerous cases of cannibalism in Russia in recent years. In June 2010, a court delivered long jail sentences to three homeless men who killed and ate a man and then sold his body parts to a kebab stall in a region of the Urals mountains.
Cannibalism is not a separate criminal offence under Russian law.