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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Clues Sought in TV Reporter's Death

Itar-TassIlya Zimin
Investigators on Monday were looking for clues in the killing of NTV journalist Ilya Zimin, who was found dead in his apartment in northern Moscow on Sunday evening.

Prosecutors said Monday that they were considering several leads, including a possible connection to Zimin's work on NTV's investigative reporting program "Professiya: Reportyor" (Profession: Reporter), but said there was no evidence of a work-related motive.

Zimin, 33, was found dead in the apartment he was renting at 4 Ulitsa Korolyova, close to his office, at about 7:45 p.m.

The body was discovered by an NTV journalist, Oleg Takmenyov, who came to find out why Zimin had failed to show up for an interview scheduled for Sunday and had not been answering his telephone.

Takmenyov told Ekho Moskvy radio late Sunday that he found the door to the 18th-floor apartment open and Zimin's body lying face down on the floor. He said there was a bottle of vodka on the kitchen table.

Calls to the City Prosecutor's Office went unanswered Monday.

News agencies reported that Zimin died of head injuries, but some later reports said he was strangled.

Zimin's colleagues at NTV were shocked by his death, and refused to speculate about possible motives for his killing when reached Monday by telephone.

They said Zimin had not received any death threats.

"Ilya was an absolutely nice, easygoing person. I hope we will find this wretch and gnaw away with our teeth a confession from him why he did this," said Nikolai Kartozia, editor of "Professiya: Reportyor," news agencies reported.

According to Lenta.ru, some NTV staffers said Zimin had told several people that he was saving money to buy an apartment and had a "considerable sum saved."

On Saturday evening, Zimin attended a friend's birthday party at the Samolyot nightclub. It was not immediately clear whether he returned home alone or with someone else. Prosecutors said Zimin could have known his attacker, citing as evidence the lack of any signs that the door to the apartment had been forced.

City Prosecutor Anatoly Zuyev said he would put his best detectives on the case and would personally oversee the investigation.

Investigators were studying possible clues found in his apartment, including fingerprints, a T-shirt, 12 cigarette butts and traces of a substance on light switches that looked like blood, the City Prosecutor's Office said in a statement.

Zimin was attacked and mugged last April just outside his apartment building.

He then spent weeks in a Moscow hospital where he was treated for a foot fracture.

A native of Khabarovsk, Zimin got his start in journalism as a reporter for a Vladivostok private television station after graduating from the Far East State University's journalism department.

In 1995, Zimin landed a job as NTV's Far East correspondent and in 2000 he moved to Moscow. He briefly worked for TV6 and TVS television after Gazprom-Media's takeover of NTV in 2001, and later returned to NTV, where he joined "Professiya: Reportyor" in 2004.

In 2002, Zimin won TEFI, a national television prize, as best reporter.