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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

2 Brothers and a Grim Tale of Cannibalism

Two teenage brothers in the Rostov region have been arrested and charged with killing an acquaintance and, together with their mother, eating his heart and liver following a drunken brawl over a stolen stereo.

Police arrested brothers Sergei Zimbovich, 19, and Igor Zimbovich, 16, earlier this week after a group of locals gathering mushrooms discovered human remains in a ravine near Krasny Sulin in the Rostov region, Maxim Yudin, the town's deputy prosecutor, said by telephone Thursday.

The mushroom-gatherers alerted police after finding the dismembered body Saturday, and the victim was identified shortly thereafter as 26-year-old Mikhail Sheremet, Yudin said. The Zimbovich brothers were identified as the primary suspects, and Sergei and Igor were arrested on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, after which they confessed to the crime, the prosecutor said.

The murder, dismemberment and subsequent consumption of Sheremet's organs appear to have been the result of a volatile concoction of alcohol and unsettled scores.

According to Krasny Sulin investigators, on Nov. 3 a Krasny Sulin court convicted Sergei Zimbovich of theft after Sheremet reported to police that he had stolen his stereo. Zimbovich was given an 18-month suspended sentence, investigator Igor Shcherbakov told Gazeta.ru on Wednesday. On Friday, Sheremet decided to patch things up between them.

"Sheremet approached Sergei Zimbovich in order to make peace," Yudin said. "He came with a bottle of vodka and suggested that they go drink together."

The two young men returned to Zimbovich's apartment in the village of Pervomaisky to drink and were joined by Igor Zimbovich, Yudin said. Trouble started after the three became heavily inebriated and began rehashing the case of the stolen stereo.

"A fight began between Sheremet and the brothers, and they strangled Sheremet to death with a scarf," Yudin said.

While the brothers were dismembering Sheremet's body in order to make it easier to dispose of, their mother, 38-year-old Nadezhda Zimbovich, walked into the room and discovered the grisly scene. For reasons that have yet to be established, Nadezhda Zimbovich suggested that they remove the innards and eat them, Yudin said.

"They cut open the body, took out the heart and liver and fried them up on the stove along with some potatoes," Yudin said.

After the family had eaten Sheremet's organs, they packed up the remains of the body in a plastic bag and took it to a ravine outside of town, where it was discovered the next day by the mushroom-gatherers, Yudin said.

The brothers have confessed, and the version of events they gave to police has been consistent with what investigators have established at the crime scene, he said.

If convicted, the brothers face a possible life sentence. Prosecutors had considered charging Nadezhda Zimbovich with covering up the crime but, given her relation to the two suspects, opted not to.

"Unfortunately, there is nothing in the criminal code that addresses cannibalism, and she didn't take part in the murder," Yudin said. "She is now considered strictly a witness in the case."

Investigators consider revenge over the stolen stereo conviction, exacerbated by alcohol, to be the primary motive for the murder, Yudin said, though they are waiting for psychiatric evaluations of the two suspects.

"We have to wait for expert opinions, but judging by their behavior during interrogations, they appear to be of sound mind," he said.

Yudin said he did not recall any similar incidents of murder and cannibalism in the recent history of the region. The region's most notorious cannibal, serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, a rapist-murderer who was convicted of torturing, mutilating and cannibalizing 52 victims between 1978 and 1991, was executed in 1994.

Though rare, incidents of cannibalism in Russia are uncovered occasionally. Police in Kamchatka arrested two homeless men in July and charged them with killing, dismembering and eating a man in October 2004 after stealing his valuables.