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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Father Strangles 3 Children

A 34-year-old father apparently suffering deep depression strangled his three young children in a hotel in the Dagestani capital, Makhachkala, and then turned himself in to police, a prosecutor said Thursday.

The father, Khidiyasul Khidiyasulov, told police that he had killed his two sons, aged 7 and 9, and his 13-year-old daughter as they slept at about 6 a.m. Wednesday, said prosecutor Makhmud Isayev, who is overseeing an investigation into the deaths.

"He came to a police station 12 hours later and revealed what he had done. Policemen went to the hotel to check his story, and it was true," Isayev said by telephone from Makhachkala.

"Khidiyasulov told investigators that he was drunk Tuesday night and thought that his children had no prospects in life and that it would be better for them to die," he said.

Isayev said Khidiyasulov, who was unemployed, had separated from his common-law wife a few days earlier in Makhachkala and moved into the inexpensive Kaspy Hotel with the children. Khidiyasulov told his family that he planned to leave Dagestan and find a job elsewhere in Russia, he said.

Relatives told investigators that Khidiyasulov had been treated for psychological problems in the past. But they also called him a kind and caring father, and that was why they had not objected to him taking the children with him, Isayev said. Khidiyasulov was not aggressive and behaved normally while being questioned by investigators, he said.

He will under go a psychiatric examination to determine his state of mind at the time of the killings, he said.

If he is found fit to stand trial and convicted of the three slayings, he could spend the rest of his life in prison. If found incompetent, he could be locked up in a prison psychiatric hospital.

Although Dagestan is one of the country's most economically depressed regions, cases like Khidiyasulov's are extremely rare. Strong family ties in the clannish, mainly Muslim republic mean that relatives usually help loved ones cope with and resolve psychological problems.