A former policeman in Siberia has confessed to 24 murders after he led a secret life of seeking out women who resembled his abusive mother and murdered them one by one.
Mikhail Popkov, 49, allegedly axed, stabbed or strangled at least 24 full-figured women who resembled his mother, though police suspect him of at least 29 murders, mostly in the Irkutsk region of Siberia, the Daily Mail reported.
Dubbed "The Werewolf," the married father of one skirted police for two decades as investigators ignored evidence that the killer could be lurking among them. The Siberian Times reported that Mr. Popkov used his police uniform to gain trust from his victims, often luring them into his police car to take them to a secluded area.
Mr. Popkov "forced victims to strip naked before killing them and having sex with their blood-soaked bodies. ... He beheaded at least one woman and gouged the heart out of a victim," The Siberian Times reported. Mr. Popkov told police that he stopped killing only after he "became impotent."
"He murdered the women with a slipknot, knife, awl, screwdriver or an axe which he used up to 17 times on some victims," the report said.
The gruesome killing spree lasted from 1992 until at least 2000, but investigators have been unable to prove any killings since then.
Dmitry, a former police colleague of Mr. Popkov's whose surname was not given, told The Siberian Times: "When I read about him in the press I literally choked, because I used to work with him and thought I knew him.
"He was an absolutely normal man ... he liked biathlons ... once on duty he shot a rapist during an arrest. There was an investigation and he was not punished, the chiefs considered he had taken fair action."
Mr. Popkov was caught after DNA analysis of the 3,500 current and former policemen in the Irkutsk region linked him to one of his victims.
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