"I took revenge on the cops because they don't work. They don't work!"
Serhiy Fedorovich Tkach, a.k.a. "The Pologovsky Maniac", is a prolific Russian serial killer active in Ukraine.
Tkach was born on September 12, 1952, in the city of Kiselyovsk, Kemerovo Oblast, Russia. He did well in school, but he was not interested in higher education. Tkach would later tell his neighbors that he was a veteran of the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan; however, in reality, he only did the compulsory military service in the Soviet Army between 1970 and 1972. Following his discharge from the Army, Tkach continued his studies for a brief time to become a police officer. Upon graduation, he became a criminal investigator in the city of Kemerovo. He was considered an excellent worker by his department, to the point of receiving a recommendation for admission to an intelligence agency school.
Crimes, Arrest, and Incarceration
However, his career fell apart when he was caught falsifying evidence. Tkach was given a choice between voluntary resignation or facing certain imprisonment, and he chose the former. His first murder happened shortly after in Simferopol, Crimea, in 1980. Tkach, who had drunken down several bottles of wine, proposed to have sex in the countryside to a former schoolmate, who he had been seeing intermittently for the past nine years. She slapped him, and he seized her and raped her. He strangled her out of fear that she would escape and report him, but when he returned home, he decided to phone his former colleagues and lead them to the body. However, Tkach became irritated when the officer at the other end of the line refused to identify himself, and hanged up.
Tkach moved to Ukraine proper in 1982 and took a number of menial jobs. He worked in mines, farms and factories before he ended up working again as an investigator in the region of Dnepropetrovsk. He also became interested in heavy athletics, eventually becoming a local champion. He married thrice and had four children. Meanwhile, Tkach continued killing many more people. His crimes would not be noticed until 1984, when numerous children and young women began disappearing across Ukraine, in Zaporhizia, Kharkov and finally Dnepropetrovsk, near where Tkach lived and worked. In August 2005, Tkach grabbed a nine-year-old girl named Katya, the daughter of one of his own friends, while she was playing with four other children. He later attended Katya's funeral, where he was recognized as her abductor by the other children.
With this information, the police arrested Tkach at his house and he confessed to not only Katya's murder, but to more than a hundred murders in a serial killing spree that had lasted for two decades. Further investigation confirmed that at least 37 of these murders were attributed to Tkach. Before his arrest, police had wrongly jailed up to ten men for some of Tkach's murders; one of them committed suicide in 2000 while he was awaiting trial. Tkach demanded the death penalty, but received a life sentenced instead, as the death penalty had been abolished in Ukraine. Tkach's motivations for committing the murders are unclear. Initially, Tkach claimed that he felt an intense hatred for women because of the way his wives had treated him; however, several acquaintances told investigators that he never showed any signs of misogyny. Later, he admitted that he committed the murders to mock his former colleagues and to show how incompetent the police department really was. Ultimately, detectives concluded that Tkach perpetrated the serial killings for sheer pleasure.
Using the knowledge he gained during his time as a criminal investigator, Tkach was a highly efficient serial killer. He targeted female children and young women aged between eight and eighteen. Tkach would skillfully press their carotid artery until they died and occasionally raped them, both before and after the murder had occurred. After satisfying himself, Tkach would clean the crime scene by removing semen and erasing footprints. He would also take his victims' clothing and jewelry to destroy fingerprint evidence, and kept some jewelry and makeup accessories as trophies. Tkach didn't dispose of the bodies; he would instead leave them instead near highways to make it look like the killer came from another city, essentially putting the blame on truckers and travelers. Alternatively, the bodies would be left near railway lines recently treated with tar, and he would leave the scene over the tracks to make it difficult for police dogs to smell his scent. In some cases, Tkach would pin the murders on other people, some even relatives of the victim, which resulted in them being falsely accused of the murder and arrested.
Tkach was profiled as being an organized, meticulous and most importantly, a merciless narcissist with strong egocentric behavior, a cold heart, resentment, an inability to maintain long-term relationships, and eagerness for revenge. According to the psychologist, Tkach also had severe anger problems, suffered from an intense irritability and was extremely aggressive. To the detectives investigating his case, Tkach was a sexually-motivated psychopath who savored the fame he was receiving from his serial killings.
- Unspecified date in 1980, Simferopol, Crimea: Unnamed young woman
- Unspecified date after 1982, Zaporizhia, Ukraine: Unnamed victim (framed Vitaly Cairo for the murder)
- Unspecified date and location in 1989: Olga Svetlichny, 9 (framed her father Vladimir Svetlichny for the murder)
- Unspecified date and location in 1997: Unnamed victim (framed Igor Ryzhkov for the murder)
- Unspecified date in 2000, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine: Vladimir Svetlichny (Olga Svetlichny's father; indirectly; committed suicide by hanging as a result of being framed for his daughter's murder)
- September 23, 2002, Zaporizhia, Ukraine: Jana Popovich, 9 (framed her cousin Jacob Popovich for the murder)
- Unspecified date and location in 2004: Svetlana Starostina, 17 (framed Maxim Dmitrenko for the murder)
- August 2005, Zaporizhia, Ukraine: Katya, 9 (surname unrevealed; attempted to frame her father for the murder)
- Note: Tkach also killed numerous other victims, though a final body count is unknown. From 1980 to 2005, he is estimated to have killed between 37 and more than 100 victims in total.
On Criminal Minds
Tkach may have indirectly provided inspiration for serial killer John Curtis. Both were extremely organized and sophisticated serial killers who worked as investigators, being considered highly competent in their jobs by their respective departments; Tkach was even was recommended for admission to an intelligence agency school. Additionally, both had their careers destroyed, despite their fame as brilliant investigators, but continued to serve in a law enforcement position. Tkach once claimed that his primary motive for committing the murders was to mock his former coworkers, similar to how Curtis taunted the team during his killings. Also, both indirectly killed suspects in their murders via suicide.
- Wikipedia's article about Tkach
- Murderpedia's article about Tkach
- Prezi article about Tkach
- Direct Stream: Homicidal Maniac of the Century - Serhiy Tkach (2013)
- Crime Files (2013)