A police source said on Wednesday that investigators were having trouble to link serial murder suspect Fyodor Beshnery to a slaying closely resembling his style.
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Beshnery, 26, an immigrant living in Haifa, was arrested in March. Police suspect he murdered and possibly raped four women in different parts of the country. The first murder occurred in 2013, and the last took place in 2015.
According to a neighbor, Beshnery lived a floor below one of the slain women three years ago. Police had at first thought the woman died of natural causes. Hers is one of two unsolved murders in the neighborhood, one of them involving a fire.
The neighbor who still lives in the building said he could recall no problematic issues with the suspect. "I remember a usual type person, he once invited me to drink beer with him and that that was the extent of our relationship," the neighbor said.
Beshnery was expected to be brought to court in Haifa on Monday, for a possible extension of his arrest.
Police say Beshnery has confessed to at least one of the murders.
The case against him was opened two months ago, in the aftermath of an inquiry into the case of a young woman found inside a torched apartment in southern Israel. An autopsy indicated murder. DNA and other digital evidence place Beshnery at the scene.
The suspect's DNA has also been linked to other murder scenes. He is also believed to be connected to two other similar murders that occurred in the north of the country.
The fourth murder occurred in the center of the country a little more than a year ago. Aside from a body found inside a charred apartment, there were other findings that were similar to those of the other murder scenes, but investigators still lack sufficient evidence to tie him to the case.
Based on information from the suspect's partner, he is divorced and has a four-month-old baby. He immigrated to Israel about five years ago.
The partner has gone back home to her parents with the couple’s baby. In brief remarks to reporters, the woman said she is not in touch with him. “Speak to his lawyer, go see his ex-wife, she was at all the hearings,” she said.
Neighbors of Beshnery and his partner were very surprised. “He’s a nice guy, he always said hello,” one of them said. “I’m in shock. Such a nice couple, totally normal,” said another.
Police suspect that the murders also involved serious sex crimes, but did not raise the issue during Beshnery’s bail hearings. They mentioned it in the press statement issued on the case on Tuesday.
“The investigation is complicated and is being conducted in several parts of the country, under a gag order,” said the statement, adding that the suspect's photograph and other details about him were being published “in order to allow the public to report to the police about any additional crimes, with an emphasis on sexual crimes, which anyone in the public may have been exposed to, or been a direct victim of.”
As part of the investigation, police have unearthed the body of a woman who was originally thought to have died of natural causes in order to see whether it showed signs of the same modus operandi employed in the other murders.
The public defender representing the suspect, Lior Ronen, told Haaretz that the police’s implication that Beshnery is suspected of multiple sex crimes is untrue and misleading because only one sex crime has been mentioned in all the court hearings on his case.
Ronen said that the suspect, who has no criminal record, denies all the allegations against him.
“His complaint against the unit that’s investigating him is that they have violated his basic rights,” Ronen said. “On top of that, he has already been under arrest for more than 40 days and despite this, the police have yet to show him any significant evidence linking him to the suspicions against him, which prevents him from mounting any defense.”