Born 1 March 1970 in Nowokusnezk, Alexander was a victim of his father’s fits of rage. Along with his mother and younger sister, he suffered brutal abuse. When his father finally left the family, young Alexander then took on the abuser’s role.

Two decades passed. In the summer of 1996, canal workers discovered the remains of 16 people in the lake Aba. All 16 were female. All were below the age of 16. All were missing their skulls. When the dissolution of the Soviet Union occured, its economy too disintegrated – as a result, the number of homeless children rose, together with the number of members and the power of the Mafia. The incident of 1996 was the final strike that spurred the police to open an investigation, despite having received numerous reports on missing children and teenagers since a long time ago.

Shortly after, due to pipe breakage, canal workers entered the flat of Alexander Nikolajewitsch Spessiwzew and his mother Ludmilla. Pure horror awaited them: in their bathroom, they discovered the dismembered corpses of two girls. Upon arrival, the police also discovered another girl (who was still alive) as well as jars containing pickled parts of dead bodies, prepared for later consumption. Drawings of the girls’ intimate parts hung on the walls. The girl who had survived provided a full and frank statement, but died afterwards of her injuries.

According to her, Alexander’s mother trapped her by inviting her into her flat. Alexander then tortured and abused her. The girls would be killed, dismembered, cooked and then eaten. The kitchen and food-storage areas were filled with body parts – cooked, fresh, raw, corned.

The arrest of the mother-and-son duo made things clear: Alexander had killed at least 19 girls in the 6 years between 1991 and 1996. People were utterly shocked at the findings. Despite the severe food shortage, there was no excuse for their behaviour, and no one could explain the reasons behind their murders. The press nicknamed Alexander the “Siberian Tiger”. He was initially sentenced to death, but later classified as mentally ill and sent to a closed institution. His mother was sentenced to a long, hard life in prison. Despite his sister’s involvement, she was not put away as she received protecting for serving as a chief witness.

No one knows why they did what they did. But one thing is clear: sometimes a human can transform into a beast.

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