It’s every divorced woman’s biggest nightmare: finally meeting the right guy and he turns out to be a psychopath. Such was the case for 40-year-old Russian nurse Valentina Saprunova, who started up a flirtatious conversation with Vitaly Molchanov, 41, on social media six months ago.
The two hit it off immediately and wasted no time hooking up, according to reports in the Russian press. In August, she uprooted her two daughters, age 13 and 8, from her Siberian home to live with Molchanov in the city of Rybinsk, more than 1,600 miles away, where she found a job in a local hospital.
Little did she know that he had a string of prior convictions for child rape and murder and had been released from prison in 2010 after serving a lengthy sentence.
She learned of his sick history Tuesday, when she came home to find her daughters Yana and Elena “literally shredded” with a knife after they had been raped, according to local press accounts.
Molchanov was nowhere to be found.
Now authorities in Russia have launched a manhunt for the serial child killer who was last seen leaving his apartment block on a white bicycle. The Russian investigative arm tasked with the case have put out an alert for him, noting that the double murder had been committed with “extreme cruelty.”
Despite his well-known crimes, Molchanov was a prolific social-media user, posting several pictures with Saprunova, including one in April in which he professed his love. “This is my girlfriend,” he posted with a picture of their first meeting. “This is very sad that we are in different cities, but I love her and we can solve all the other issues.”
But shortly after she moved in, local press reports suggest that he had become extremely jealous of Saprunova’s work, which often kept her at the hospital for 24-hour shifts.
Saprunova also likely missed a prophetic clue that her children’s killer posted shortly after they met. He reportedly posted a meme that said, “After a murder, police first of all check if the victim’s spouse can be involved. And this is basically everything you need to know about this marriage.”