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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

MN Reporter Found Killed

Valery Batuyev, a war reporter for the Moskovskiye Novosti weekly, was found strangled and stabbed to death Sunday in his Moscow apartment. He had recently returned from Georgia's Pankisi Gorge, near Chechnya.

A police spokeswoman said Monday that on the day of the murder investigators detained a homeless man trying to sell Batuyev's mobile telephone and he quickly led them to the suspected killer, a Belarussian national. Batuyev's belongings and the knife apparently used to kill him were also found.

Interfax reported late Monday that the suspected murderer, 19-year-old Sergei Zdorovtsev, had confessed to the crime. His accomplice was identified as Sergei Zimin, 21.

Top editors at Moskovskiye Novosti could not be reached for comment Monday. "We are waiting for the results of the investigation," an editorial assistant said.

But Dmitry Babich, a foreign editor who worked with Batuyev, said he had doubts about the police version. "I don't believe it was a plain robbery," Babich said. "He wasn't a rich man at all." Babich said, however, that Batuyev was a very trusting man and could have let strangers into his home.

Batuyev, who was 33, had worked at Moskovskiye Novosti for two months, after reporting for other newspapers. "He was a very courageous man," Babich said.