A former Russian cop and serial killer who local media have nicknamed “The Werewolf” has confessed to police that he murdered an additional 59 women, bringing the grand total to 81 victims.
Mikhail Popkov is already serving a life sentence for the 22 murders he committed during a 16-year killing spree that spanned from 1994 to 2000, according to The Siberian Times.
Using the information Popkov gave them, police have discovered the bodies of more victims and have charged Popkov with 47 new murders. They are continuing to investigate the outstanding 12 cases.
If Popkov’s numbers turn out to be true, it would make Popkov the third worst serial killer in history — behind Colombian Luis Garavito, who was found responsible for 138 murders, and South America–based Pedro López, who has 110 proven killings on his record.
While wearing his police uniform, Popkov would lure drunken victims into his police car by offering them late night rides home. Not sensing any danger from a officer of the law, the women would accept, and then he would violently rape them before killing them with tools including an ax, knives, or screwdrivers and then dump their naked corpses in the woods.
He claims to have beheaded at least one woman and gouged the heart out of a victim.
The case was cold for many years, as the authorities didn’t think to suspect one of their own. Then, once the entire police department was DNA tested, a sample from a crime scene was matched to Popkov. He was arrested in 2012.
Popkov has told police that he stopped killing in 2000 after contracting syphilis from one of his victims, but the new confessions call that theory into question.
Police have theorized that Popkov selected victims who slightly resembled his alcoholic mother who reportedly abused him in childhood. He was married with one adult daughter, and has reportedly been described by his family as a “perfect husband and father.”