Cannibalistic joy 

Cannibalistic joy
The man-eating spouses Baksheevs may have followers Photo: The CrimeRussia

There is only one official victim in the Baksheevs’ case so far. However, they are suspected of murdering at least 30 people. There will be plenty of horrible stuff for investigators to go through with this case. The married couple not only ate their victims but perfected their culinary skills and recorded their human meat recipes. This means they may have followers.

Investigation over a human head

Photographs often help catch criminals. However, it is usually pedophiles and molesters who give themselves away this way; they like recording their perversions. This horrible criminal story began when road workers found a cellphone on Repin Street, Krasnodar, in early September. The workers were struck with terror when they looked through photos and saw a man posing with a chopped off hand in his mouth. It did not take the police much time to identify the ‘model’; Dmitry Baksheev told the police he found the remains near the Aviagorodok District and took photos "for the thrill of it." The police did not buy into this and kept an eye on him. A criminal case was opened for violation of article 105 (Murder) of the Russian Criminal Code.

Later, a bucket and a plastic bag with a dismembered woman inside were found in the same district at premises of the aviation academy on Dzerzhinsky Street. A mysterious bag filled with stuff was found nearby, too. The police came up with lots of new questions after the discovery. For example, why were lips cut off a woman’s body?

Everyone said it was an emergency. A psychologist was summoned from Nizhny Novgorod to aid the investigators since they needed an expert opinion on potential dismembering murderers’ behavior. In other words, they needed a psychological profile. The investigators turned their attention to the necrophiliac amateur photographer’s wife Natalya Baksheeva.  

Natalya and Dmitry Baksheev

Natalya and Dmitry Baksheev

The woman was acting strange but the psychologist managed to get her to confess. The confessions were shocking. For example, the dismembered woman was someone they met and drank with at an abandoned area on Gatello Street. They got into an argument, as it often happens in drunk companies; her husband, Dmitry Baksheev, got angry and killed the woman. The spouses then dismembered her body; Dmitry Baksheev took some body parts with him. That is where the shocking photos came from. But these were not the only such photos.

Our
notes

Aleksey Sukletin was the most infamous soviet cannibal. He acted on his own, too. One Madina Shakirova was his accessory and lover. He committed his crimes in the Republic of Tatarstan. He had a criminal record and was an alcoholic, just like Dmitry Baksheev. His plan of actions was simple: he would bring women to his place, have sex with them, and kill them. Shakirova helped him cook his victims. They would make soups, patties, and aspic, and eat them. They buried human remains in a garden. They sometimes sold excess human meat as regular one to people spending time in country houses. They sold it at an attractive price, too. Sukletin committed murders between 1979 and 1980. One of his victims was an 11-year-old girl. The cannibals murdered and ate 7 people. However, it is likely there were more victims. The two cannibals gave themselves away by simply extorting money from cab drivers working for a taxi business they started to make money. Sukletin was executed by firing squad in 1994. Madina Shakirova completed serving her 15-year custodial sentence in 2002.

Looking for victims

Natalya Baksheeva testified during the investigation. There were other victims besides the drinking buddy. She identified more than 30 people from the missing people list. There was no doubt; the marginal married couple was murderous cannibals. The police found 7 bodies buried near their home. There were numerous victims’ cellphones and bone chilling videos in their room; videos on how to cook humans.

As for Dmitry Baksheev, he would not confess to the murders even after his wife did. When questioned, he kept insisting he had found the body parts on September 8, 2017. He said he had put them into his backpack, brought home, transferred them into a bucket with water, took the hand in the morning, drove to work to an apartment under renovation, and took the photos "for laughs." The murderer would often drive in public transport carrying his victims’ body parts.

Picture from the lost phone

Picture from the lost phone

The investigators assisted by the academy students searched the area near the academy while the spouses were being questioned. It was not in vain; a murdered woman’s scalp was found the same day. No one doubted Dmitry Baksheev had long been a serial killer, necrophile, and cannibal by then. For example, the investigators discovered he had begun experimenting with human meat in 1999. Natalya Baksheeva joined him later. The third suspect in this terrifying case emerged on October 2. He was Dmitry Baksheev’s acquaintance with whom he had served his theft sentence. They used to work as repairmen.

The future cannibalistic couple met in 2012. Natalya had already been divorced by then and lived in a room in a military dormitory. Dmitry Baksheev made money by renovating apartments and drank a lot. Natalya had lost several jobs due to excessive drinking and worked as a nurse in the above-mentioned academy. The spouses moved into the dormitory once married. They annoyed their neighbors with shouting, excessive drinking, and quarrels. Their room always stank with Corvalol. However, their neighbors who fought against the alcoholics and even tried to get them evicted were unaware of the reasons.

Our
notes

The Baksheevs are not the only cannibalistic spouses. Such things had happened before in Russia and former Soviet republics. For example, there was the large Uzbaevs cannibalistic family in the Republic of Kazakhstan. There were only women in the family. The women ate their family members. The Uzbaevs lived in a City of Almaty two-room apartment and were known as shut-ins. Neighbors hardly ever saw them. Their windows were always shut. The only sign there were people in the apartment was bad smell. The Uzbaevs’ terrifying culinary taste was revealed by accident. A district doctor who responded to a call recognized the smell of decaying corpses and called the police. The police found 4 mummified and partially eaten corpses in a closet. Head of the household Zagipa Uzbaeva and 3 of her daughters had been eating other 3 sisters and a grandmother for months. All the women were convicted and are undergoing compulsory psychiatric treatment.

Human meat-based business

Only investigators and forensic psychiatrist will be able to tell when Dmitry Baksheev dragged his wife into cannibalism (it is worth noting that Natalia Baksheeva was found sane, according to the initial examination). The cannibalistic spouses murdered random people. They would invite people for a drink in a quiet place, put them to sleep using Corvalol and ether (Natalya Baksheeva had access to them at work), and murder and dismember them. They took body parts home. Neighbors would often notice blood dripping off Dmitry Baksheev’s bag. However, no one could think of such a terrifying reason. It is likely the cannibals did not cook human meat in the dormitories and used kitchens of apartments Dmitry Baksheev renovated instead. The police have yet to learn how much people he had murdered and ate. The police is going through all missing people lists for the past 20 years.

Can with stewed meat

Can with stewed meat

Moreover, entrepreneurial Natalya Baksheeva did not just eat human flesh but tried to start a small business selling it. They needed money. The cannibals ran into a large debt for utility services. Natalya Baksheeva visited Krasnodar restaurant chain owner Vitaly Yakubenko in his office and even applied for a job, as he later told journalists. She wanted to work as a cook.

"She was very energetic, jumpy, asked lots of questions about where we buy meat and fish and how fresh our products are. I told her we only buy from certified suppliers. You see, no one asks such questioned out of curiosity. I have been in the business for a while. I have dealt with many people who tried to sell me cheap products, including meat," he told journalists.

Yakubenko did not doubt the woman could find a cushy job where employers turn a blind eye to shady practices of buying "inexpensive meat." They can even buy canned meat. The police did find canned human meat in the Baksheevs room. Moreover, the woman worked in the academy. It is possible the academy students ate it without knowing where the meat came from.

Cannibals differ

The Baksheevs’ terrifying and scandalous story is rather an exception. People usually turn to cannibalism due to either hunger or serious mental illness. Infamous St Petersburg cannibal Ilshat Kuzikov was mentally ill and handicapped. He only started living an asocial lifestyle – drink with alcoholics and eventually murder his lovers and eat them - due to doctors’ negligence and lack of beds in mental hospital. He was proved to have murdered 3 people. However, there may have been 7 victims. He was prosecuted as a serial killer and put into the infamous Kresty St. Petersburg jail due to him having been diagnosed in USSR and his medical record been lost during Perestroika. Influential criminals nearly stirred up a riot after he was put in a common cell due to the jail overpopulation. 

Ilshat Kuzikov

Ilshat Kuzikov

Inmates kept night watches; they were afraid he would eat someone. He was eventually transferred into a cell with another cannibal – a homeless man who got drunk and ate his drinking buddy due to hunger. Guards would even buy them baloney and vodka during harsh post-Perestroika years; they wanted them to stay fed.

However, it is not like people have not heard of cannibalism in St. Petersburg; it plagued the city during the WWII blockade. Mothers would kill their infants to feed other children. Gangs would hunt children to make soup. People would make aspic out of their neighbors pretending it was made of horse meat. There were gangs that dug out corpses from graves and ate them. The Russian FSB St. Petersburg Department has numerous criminal records with dried human fingers as evidence. All the defendants in such cases were executed by firing squad. It is worth noting that each such execution was personally authorized by People's Commissar for Internal Affairs of the USSR Lavrentiy Beria.

The last time there was a cannibal case in St Petersburg was in 2009. 'Goths' Maksim Mozhnov and Maksim Glavatskikh murdered, dismembered, and fried with potatoes their acquaintance, a 16-year-old girl. The scandalous case was judged by a jury that found the defendants guilty. The City Court of St. Petersburg gave them 19 and 18-year custodial sentences, respectively.  This year, Maksim Glavatskikh committed suicide in a Murmansk high-security prison No.17.

'Goths' Maksim Mozhnov and Maksim Glavatskikh

'Goths' Maksim Mozhnov and Maksim Glavatskikh

Expert opinion

Rodion Chepalov, a psychologist: "Cannibalism is a serious mental disorder that can only be treated by specialists. Such people do not go to psychologists even if they understand there is something wrong with them. It is hard to imagine someone off the street who would go to a psychologist a tell them 'Hi, I want to eat people, what do I do?' Underlying reasons are determined case by case. It may be due to incorrect upbringing or psychological traumas complicated by a brain infection. There are dozens of books on the matter. One can only get to the bottom of why a certain individual turned to cannibalism after long examination and questioning. A psychiatric hospital patient can tell something along the lines of 'everyone bullied and humiliated me in school. Once I was beaten after school. I was walking, covered in blood. I did not know what to do. That is when I saw a cat eating a pigeon. Its mouth was covered in blood just like mine. The cat was very happy. I felt I wanted to do the same – eat…' But that is just off the top of my head. People can turn to cannibalism under extreme conditions, due to extreme hunger. Such experience traumatizes a normal individual severely. It is very hard to treat such a trauma later. There was not anything like extreme hunger in this case. I believe it may be psychological compensation complicated by active ailing physiological processes in the brain and by antisocial lifestyle."

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