Monday, February 5, 2007. Issue 3589. Page 3.
Mass Grave Unearthed in Urals
Map of "The Urals, a common geographical term to describe the area around the Ural Mountains range which is often referred to as "the industrial heart of Russia"
Law enforcement agents in the Urals have uncovered a mass grave containing the remains of up to 30 girls and women kidnapped and forced to work as prostitutes before being killed, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported Friday.
The grave was found outside the small town of Levikha, situated between the cities of Nizhny Tagil and Yekaterinburg.
Eight men aged 25 to 46 have been detained and charged with murder.
So far, 15 of the bodies have been identified. Forensics experts are working to establish the identity of the others.
Most of the victims went missing between 2002 and 2005. Those identified include a 15-year-old girl and her 13-year-old friend, both of whom disappeared in July 2005, Alexei Prokhorov, a senior Sverdlovsk region prosecutor, was quoted as saying.
The girls were reportedly lured to an apartment, raped and told they would have to work as prostitutes. Both refused and, like the other victims, were then killed, their bodies dumped in the forest. The graves were shallow enough that animals were able to eat them, complicating the identification process.
The eight men charged in the killings were based in Nizhny Tagil.
Four of the eight suspects are believed to be relatives. One of the more handsome suspects was assigned the task of courting potential victims and bringing them back to the apartment.