Body of Savagely Murdered Woman Returned From Israel to Ukraine

Partner arrested on suspicion of killing Tatiana Khaikin in Bat Yam

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The crime scene in Bat Yam, Israel, May 3, 2020.
The crime scene in Bat Yam, Israel, May 3, 2020.Credit: Meged Gozani
Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg

The body of a woman murdered in Bat Yam two weeks ago, apparently by her partner, was flown to Ukraine on Sunday so she could be buried in her hometown of Lviv.

Police said Sunday that they intend to charge Tatiana Khaikin’s partner, Igor Chepikov, with the murder later this week.

With the investigation complete, police also released new details about the killing. They said Khaikin was murdered sometime on the night between May 1 and May 2, but Chepikov waited until Sunday evening, May 3, to call the police and report what he had done.

He brutally attacked Khaikin and dismembered her body, which then lay in her apartment for almost two days, police said. And despite the time that had passed since the murder, there were still bloodstains on his clothes when he was arrested.

When police questioned him, they added, he told them various tales, including that he didn’t recall the incident.

Earlier this month, Haaretz reported that nobody had come to collect Khaikin’s body from the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir. Women who knew her therefore sought to raise money to fly the body back to Ukraine, where her mother and sister live.

The cost of the flight, around 15,000 shekels ($4,200), was raised in less than 16 hours from the time Bat Yam city councilwoman Kati Piasecki-Morag set up a website for the purpose.

Before Khaikin’s coffin was put on the plane, her acquaintances held a modest ceremony at Ben-Gurion Airport’s cargo terminal. The women held signs saying “You aren’t alone.”

“She was a wonderful, smiley woman,” said Etti, one of the women present.

“We used to meet at malls with other people, and I never thought I’d come and see her in a coffin,” she added. “She never spoke about her family.”

Sophie, the acquaintance who managed to contact Khaikin’s mother and sister in Lviv, said, “Even if we hadn’t found her family, it was necessary to help her. Her sister cried over the phone and said they had prayed every day that it would be possible to bury her in the city where she grew up, because they didn’t have money to fly her there.”

Piasecki-Morag, who organized the ceremony, said, “We hadn’t yet managed to bury Tatiana, and yesterday evening, another 21-year-old girl had already been murdered,” referring to Saturday night’s murder of Maya Vishniak by her boyfriend.

“I hope that in the places where decisions are made, they realize that this is a virus that nobody’s trying to find a vaccine for,” she added. “We see that the victims have different backgrounds, different ages and different life stories, but what they have in common is that the Israeli government has abandoned them.”

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