Man Nabbed in Head-Severing Case

Capping a two-month long investigation into one of the most gruesome murders of the year, police apprehended a man suspected of cutting off his mother's head and sending it by mail to the dean of his institute, police spokesmen said Thursday.

According to Alexander Kazakhin, a lead homicide investigator in the small town of Kirzhach in the Vladimir region, a task force of investigators from several regions arrested Dmitry Noskov, 23, in the Nizhny Novgorod region Monday.

He said Noskov had been the subject of a massive manhunt since his mother and grandmother were found hacked to death at their homes in Kirzhach in early July.

Their bodies were discovered after a young female instructor at Noskov's former school, the Orekhovo-Zuyeva Pedagogical Institute in the Moscow region, opened a large soggy package to find Noskov's mother's head inside. The victim had been a teacher at the same institute, and was immediately recognized by the package recipient, who screamed and fainted.

"He was trying to send his old school a message," said Kazakhin, "and he succeeded."

The package was addressed to the dean of the institute, who was away on vacation when it arrived. According to Kazakhin, Noskov was upset with the Orekhovo-Zuyeva faculty, including his mother, because he had been expelled the year before for having poor grades.

Kazakhin said that Noskov, who is currently undergoing a psychiatric evaluation in the Nizhny Novgorod region, was a schizophrenic who heard voices giving him instructions on how to kill.

"He heard a voice from above," said Kazakhin, who conducted the initial interrogation Monday. "It told him to kill his family and specifically instructed him to send his mother's head through the mail. He said he was just following orders."

He added that the suspect, who had aspired to be a teacher like his mother, had no history of mental health problems. He said that while authorities were still trying to determine where Noskov was in the two months he was missing, he was not a suspect in other murders.

Noskov, Kazakhin said, was an early suspect in the case when police were unable to find him after the two bodies of his mother and grandmother were discovered in his home.

A nationwide bulletin was put out, and when Noskov turned up at his birthplace in the Nizhny Novgorod suburb of Arzamas, his relatives -- who had been briefed by police to call if Noskov showed -- contacted authorities. Noskov was picked up shortly thereafter without a struggle.

Kazakhin said police were still amazed Noskov managed to mail his mother's head without being detected.

"The package was a rather obvious one," he said. "It was poorly wrapped. If you're a policeman, you think, 'There's a head in there.'"

Post office workers in Kirzhach declined to comment on the incident.