Kidnapped Children Freed After 6 Weeks

Two children kidnapped in central St. Petersburg have been returned unharmed to their parents after more than a month in captivity.

After negotiations with law enforcement officials, kidnappers dropped off Dmitry Borodulin, 6, near a hospital on Avangardnaya Ulitsa in St. Petersburg late Sunday night, St. Petersburg prosecutors said Monday. His sister Alexandra Borodulina, 11, was released Thursday night at the intersection of Yuzhnoye Shosse and Bukharestskaya Ulitsa, prosecutors said.

The kidnappers, who had initially demanded a 10 million euro ($13.5 million) ransom for the children's release, remained at large, Yelena Ordynskaya, spokeswoman for the St. Petersburg prosecutor's office, said Monday.

"At this time the investigation is ongoing, but we are confident that the kidnappers will be caught," Ordynskaya said.

Ordynskaya said no money had been handed over in exchange for release of the children.

St. Petersburg Deputy Prosecutor Alexei Mayakov told reporters it was unclear exactly why the kidnappers agreed to release the children without receiving any money.

"This will become known only after the criminals are caught," Mayakov said, Fontanka.ru reported.

The children were kidnapped around 10:30 p.m. on May 15 near their home on Admiralteiskaya Naberezhnaya in central St. Petersburg.

The children's father, who had just brought them home from a sports club, was hit over the head by the kidnappers before they fled with the children, authorities said.

Borodulin later said the kidnappers targeted his family because he had inherited real estate in the center of Moscow, Fontanka.ru reported.

The children said they were held in an apartment with tightly sealed windows and that their kidnappers, two men wearing masks, brought them food and accompanied them to the bathroom, Fontanka.ru said.

The kidnappers carried them from the apartment in large bags before they were released, the web site said.

The children are currently being treated at a children's hospital and are in good physical condition, though they are suffering from shock, Mayakov told Ekho Moskvy radio.

Fontanka.ru reported that St. Petersburg journalist Andrei Konstantinov, one of the country's foremost authorities on organized crime, participated in authorities' negotiations with the hostages. Konstantinov heads up the Agency of Journalistic Investigations, which runs Fontanka.ru.