The serial killer has been dubbed in the press the “Volga Maniac” because many of his alleged crimes were committed in several areas along the Volga, the longest river in Europe. The murders took place in at least 12 different cities.
Tagirov had already been convicted in 2009 for theft. Investigators said in a statement that the suspect was identified using DNA evidence and shoe prints obtained at crime scenes.
Earlier local media reports indicate that most of his victims were elderly women, aged 75 to 90, who lived alone. Investigators said the suspect posed as a social or utility worker to enter the apartments.
Once inside, the suspect strangled the women with hands or objects nearby, and often took valuables and money from their homes. In 2017, federal investigators tripled the initial reward from 1 million to 3 million rubles (about $ 40,000) for information that would help identify the killer.
Reports suggest that the total number of his victims could be as high as 32, making him one of the most prolific serial killers in modern Russia.
In a video posted by police online, a handcuffed Tagirov could be seen admitting to murders, but he did not specify how many.
When asked by the police why all of his victims were elderly women and why he decided to kill them instead of just stealing them, he replied that he could not explain it.
“It all happened spontaneously. I wanted to eat. I lived partly on the streets, ”he said, responding to what had motivated him to commit the first murder. He said he couldn’t remember exactly when it happened.
Tagirov said he chose to strangle women because he believed it was “calm, quick” and “painless for them”.
The suspect allegedly committed his first murder in 2011 in Kazan. A few months later that year, several other women were found in the same city. One managed to survive, but she was blind and could not describe the attacker.