Sa, 2.12.2023

Last wish of Varvara's slayer: don't call ambulance

Risto Berendson
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Photo: Liis Treimann / Postimees

The only encounter by police investigators in Tallinn with probable slayer of  Varvara Ivanova was limited to formal questions. At the moment, none of the investigators was suspecting that the young man outwardly ordinary, as well as living with a woman, could be the target of an investigation of utmost importance. 

The question: where was he and what did he do about 7 pm on March 18th 2012? The answer: don’t remember. Which was understood, as the interrogation was two years after the violent death of Varvara. It was February 12th 2014 and details of an outwardly usual day will not be remembered for two years.

Did he know Varvara Ivanova? No. Also correct. Basically, that was it at the moment. A DNA sample was taken from the mouth of the man and he was waived adieu in all serenity.

Three days after that, alone at home, the man mixed himself a cocktail of three drugs: amphetamine, methamphetamine (four times stronger), and fentanyl.  

This was a deadly dose.

To his unmarried partner, the man left a three word notice of «Don’t call ambulance» and proceeded to leave this life.

At the moment, nothing but the routine suicide of another drug addict. Busy and occupied, the group investigating the murder of Varvara never noticed.

It all changed three months later as expertise assessment sent word the drug addict’s DNA fitted with fragments found on the body of Varvara.  

Which was no giant breakthrough as of all 2,800 DNA samples 11 men had fit – all of whom had been in Narva on the day of the murder and within mobile telephone mast coverage of the scene.  

One by one, all had been excluded. With the man now dead, the process promised to be even more complicated.

Toiling hard, the investigators managed to reconstruct the man’s day while Tarvo Kruup of Eastern prefecture admits a 1.5 hour hole remained.

Broadly, the man’s day was like this: he was just transiting from light drugs to harder ones. Addiction had set in. In a condition like this, behaviour may be unpredictable to a person himself. Which was afterwards assumed by psychiatric experts.

Outwardly, though, for the public he still remained an ordinary Narva guy who worked for living and was interested in normal heterosexual relations. Those closest to him suspected nothing. On the day of Varvara’s death, the telephone calls were the totally usual kind.

True, he had an earlier criminal record of being punished twice for various crimes like robbery and battery, but these sound grander as actual content. So he never was in prison.

The police initially focussing on sexual offenders, he was classified as second category suspect. That’s why it took two years until they came for his DNA.

Confirmation came by April 24th 2015 reply from an Austrian lab stating DNA on Varvara complied with two men from the abovementioned 11.

This was bull’s eye. The men had the same mother, one being the addict who committed suicide. The other was abroad on murder day.  

The police was now left with the worry: what is this isn’t enough to convince the public?

Someplace there had to be the place of murder, indoors, where Varvara was abused sexually and strangled.

They desired to find out. After diligent search including sewage systems and fireplaces for traces of DNA, no success ensued.

Neither do they know how murderer managed to take the body hundreds of metres away. In the dark, no security camera catching him, meeting no one. «We have several versions – is some car he could use, or in a [ice] hockey bag,» said Mr Kruup.

Last week, they finally decided to notify the parents of Varvara about all of the above this Monday morning. Thereafter, police and prosecutor’s office held a press conference in Tallinn to announce the case was closed.