Anatoly Onoprienko


Anatoly Yuriyovych Onoprienko was born to Yuri and an unnamed woman on July 25, 1959, in Lasky, Zhytomyr Oblast. He had an older brother, Valentin. After his mother died and father didn’t want him, he was sent to an orphanage. Onoprienko claimed this is what started his taste to kill parents and only killed the children so they wouldn’t have to live as orphans as he did.

Murders, Arrest, and Death

On June 14, 1989, Oleg and Ludmila Melnik were pulled over by Onoprienko, who was armed with a Winchester hunting rifle. Oleg was shot to death while Ludmila was forced out of the car. After being led to a nearby forest, she screamed for help, whereupon Onoprienko promptly shot her. He then buried their bodies in a shallow grave, stole their valuables, and set their car on fire. On July 16, he shot Victor and Anna Vasylyuk, a Polish couple, and then stole their valuables and set their car on fire.

On August 16, Onoprienko knocked on the window of a car driven by Yevgeny Podolyak. Yevgeny saw him holding a gun and began to reach for his own firearm, only to be shot. Onoprienko then opened fire on Yevgeny’s sisters-in-law and son. Afterwards, he sat in the car for two hours, contemplating suicide. When the stench of the bodies became unbearable, he dragged them to a nearby ditch. He saw one of the victims twitch, so he stabbed her in the back with a knife; he then set the car on fire and left.

Onoprienko returned to murdering again on October 5, 1995. Alexander Svetlovsky was selling jewelry to Galina Gryshchenko in a car when he approached them and demanded money. The garage boss refused, so Onoprienko opened fire, instantly killing Gryshchenko; Svetlovsky was then murdered with a hunting knife. Onoprienko stole the car, drove it to a nearby forest, and blew it up with a gas cylinder in the trunk. He escaped with money and jewelry.

On October 28, Maria Parashchuk was killed when she returned to her apartment and saw Onoprienko stealing some of her food, after which he then set the place ablaze.

On December 24, 1995, Onoprienko forced his way into the home of the Zaichenko family. The father was shot first, and then he stabbed the mother as she knelt on the floor and begged for her life. He hacked off their fingers for their wedding rings and also stole the mother’s earrings and golden crucifix. As he searched the house for more valuables, he saw two children sleeping. He killed them, placed the youngest child on the mother’s chest, stole a bag of used clothes, and set the house ablaze with a gas cylinder.

On January 2, 1996, Onoprienko saw Pyotr and Maria Kryuchkov setting up curtains in their new home. He entered and shot Pyotr in the head. When Maria rushed over to her husband, Onoprienko killed her as well. He then found one of her sisters, Lesya, hiding under the kitchen table. He shot her and then did the same thing to the other sister, Myroslava, once he spotted her. As Onoprienko set the house on fire, he noticed Mikhail Malinowski, a potential witness; he killed him, too.

On the night of January 5 to the morning of January 6, Sergei Odintsov and Tamara Dolinin were attacked by Onoprienko. He shot Odintsov; Dolinin flees, but her boyfriend’s killer caught up to her, stripped her, shot her in the head, and then raped her corpse. He left their bodies into Odintsov’s car trunk, but while he was leaving the scene, he noticed a police officer, Alexander Rybalko, walking with Sergei Garmash. Fearing that they could be witnesses, he killed them, only to then spot a soldier named Victor Kasayev. Onoprienko shot him as well but later saw a driver, Anatoly Savitsky. After shooting him dead, he then dragged his corpse away and stuffed it in the trunk with Odintsov and Dolinin. He set the car on fire and murdered one more possible witness, Nadezhda Kochergina.

On January 17, after prying open a door with a chisel to break into an isolated home, Onoprienko killed Vladimir Pilat, a pensioner who had gone to investigate the noise. His daughter-in-law, her son, and the grandmother were murdered next. He then ransacked the house, set it on fire, and shot two potential witnesses.

On January 30, Sergei Zaghranichny was visiting the Marusina family when he was shot by Onoprienko; he then turned the gun on the mother and her sons. Zaghranichny and one of the boys were still alive from being shot, so Onoprienko beat them to death with a shovel.

On February 26, he shot Victor Gudz, an ambulance driver, after he refused to hand over his money.

Onoprienko’s final murders took place on March 22. He shot the father of the Novosad family, then the mother, and finally her sister when he spotted her hiding under the kitchen table. He went downstairs and he came across the daughter, so he stabbed her, leaving her to bleed to death. Upon seeing the father was still alive, Onoprienko took the knife that he had used to kill the daughter, slashed his throat, and rammed the blade into his mouth. He then set the house on fire.

Onoprienko was arrested on April 16, 1996 when his assortment of weapons was discovered. He escaped the death penalty because it was abolished while he was in prison. He was sentenced to life in prison. Many were angered when he had the possibility of parole, but he died from heart failure at the age of 54 on August 24, 2013 before he had the chance.

Modus Operandi[]

Onoprienko would target an isolated house to commit a murder. He would create some sort of commotion to gain the attention of the house owners, then kill them, starting with the ‘alpha’ of the home (usually the father), then the next (usually the mother), then finally the weakest members (usually the children). He would also kill any potential witness to his crimes afterward. He would also sometimes burn the houses down to cover up the crimes.

He usually killed his victims by shooting them with a TOZ-34 and a Double-Barreled shotgun. But in the case of the Dubchak family, he killed the mother and daughter by mauling them with a hammer. He also dismembered the mother and daughter of the Bodnarchuk family and a witness with an axe.

Known Victims[]

  • Note: The following were all confessed by him.
  • 1989:
    • Numerous unspecified robberies
    • June 14: Oleg and Ludmila Melnik (both shot; burned their car post-mortem)
      • Oleg Melnik, 31
      • Ludmila Melnik, 31
    • July 16: Victor and Anna Vasylyuk (both shot; burned their car post-mortem)
      • Victor Vasylyuk, 43
      • Anna Vasylyuk, 32
    • August 16: The Podolyak family (all shot; burned their car post-mortem)
      • Yevgeny Podolyak, 35 (father)
      • Valentina Podolyak, 27 (sister-in-law)
      • Paula Podolyak, 25 (sister-in-law)
      • Lena Podolyak, 22 (sister-in-law; was also stabbed in the back)
      • Sasha Podolyak, 11 (son)
  • 1995:
    • October 5: Galina Gryshchenko and Alexander Svetlovsky
      • Galina Gryshchenko, 38 (shot)
      • Alexander Svetlovsky, 34 (stabbed; burned his car post-mortem)
    • October 28: Maria Parashchuk, 70 (shot twice; burned her apartment post-mortem)
    • December 24: The Zaichenko family (burned their house post-mortem)
      • Nikolai Zaichenko, 27 (father; shot in the face and chest; removed his fingers post-mortem)
      • Julia Zaichenko, 25 (mother; stabbed five times; removed her fingers post-mortem)
      • Boris Zaichenko, 3 (son; stabbed and/or strangled)
      • Oleg Zaichenko, 3 months (son; stabbed and/or strangled; placed on Julia’s chest post-mortem)
  • 1996:
    • January 2: The Kryuchkov family (all shot; burned their house post-mortem)
      • Pyotr Kryuchkov, 27
      • Maria Kryuchkov, 23
      • Lesya Kryuchkov, 18 (Maria’s sister)
      • Myroslava Kryuchkov, 18 (Maria’s sister)
      • Mikhail Malinowski, 33 (incidental; a witness)
    • January 5-6: All of the following were shot in separate locations:
      • Sergei Odintsov, 37 (stuffed into his car trunk and burned post-mortem)
      • Tamara Dolinin, 32 (also engaged in necrophilia with her corpse; stuffed into Odintsov’s car trunk and burned post-mortem)
      • Alexander Rybalko, 35 (incidental, a witness)
      • Sergei Garmash, 35 (incidental; a witness)
      • Victor Kasayev, 35 (incidental; a witness)
      • Anatoly Savitsky, 45 (incidental; a witness; stuffed into Odintsov’s car trunk and burned post-mortem)
      • Nadezhda Kochergina, 45 (incidental; a witness)
    • January 17: The Pilat family (all shot; burned their house post-mortem)
      • Vladimir Pilat, 62 (grandfather)
      • Lesya Pilat, 26 (mother)
      • Vladimir Pilat, Jr., 6 (grandson)
      • Oleg Pilat, 28 (father)
      • Olga Pilat, 60 (grandmother)
      • Galina Kondzela, 29 (incidental; a witness)
      • Stepan Zakharko, 56 (incidental; a witness)
    • January 30:
      • The Marusina family (all shot):
        • Svetlana Marusina, 29 (mother)
        • Boris Marusina, 7 (son)
        • Denis Marusina, 6 (son; was also bludgeoned to death with a shovel)
      • Sergei Zaghranichny, 32 (incidental; a visitor who went to the Marusina home; was also bludgeoned to death with a shovel)
    • February 19: The Dubchak family
      • Anatoly Dubchak, 32 (father; shot in the face)
      • Julia Dubchak, 30 (mother; raped; bludgeoned to death with a hammer)
      • Victoria Dubchak, 9 (bludgeoned to death with a hammer)
    • February 26: Victor Gudz, 41 (shot)
    • February 27: The Bodnarchuk family
      • Sergei Bodnarchuk, 31 (father; shot)
      • Galina Bodnarchuk, 27 (mother; shot)
      • Tatiana Bodnarchuk, 7 (daughter; hacked to death with an axe)
      • Valery Bodnarchuk, 8 (daughter; hacked to death with an axe; beheaded post-mortem)
      • Boris Tsalk, 28 (incidental; shot; dismembered with an axe post-mortem)
    • March 22: The Novosad family (burned their house post-mortem)
      • Mikhail Novosad, 30 (father; shot twice in the chest; slashed his throat and rammed the blade into his mouth)
      • Galina Novosad, 30 (mother; shot)
      • Irina Novosad, 26 (Galina’s sister; shot)
      • Ludmila Novosad, 10 (stabbed in the chest)

On Criminal Minds[]

While Onoprienko was never directly mentioned or referenced on the show, he appears to have been an inspiration for the following unsubs:

  • Season One
    • Karl Arnold (“The Fox”) – Both were prolific serial killers and family annihilators who had stressors involving their fathers (Onoprienko’s put him in an orphanage, while Arnold’s abused him), were married and had children, targeted families, broke into their homes to kill them, killed by various means, had some twisted concept of mercy in their killings (Arnold viewed the families he slaughtered as dysfunctional, while Onoprienko killed the children of the families so they wouldn’t become orphans), murdered the families in sequential orders in reverse of each other (Arnold killed the children and mother before the father, while Onoprienko killed the father and mother before the children), murdered additional witnesses (Arnold killed pets, Onoprienko killed family friends and bystanders), others were blamed and interrogated for their crimes, and both were given nicknames.
  • Season Two
    • Vincent Stiles (“Ashes and Dust”) – Both were serial killers, serial arsonists, and family annihilators motivated by personal resentment and inadequacy (Stiles killed white-collar families out of hateful classism, Onoprienko murdered parents out of his abandonment in the orphanage system by his father and children so they wouldn’t be in the system like him), briefly had an accomplice who turned away from them (Stiles was lured by Evan Abby for a murder-suicide, Onoprienko had an accomplice who ditched him after his killings started), attacked and killed victims in their homes and cars, destroyed the scenes with arson fires, and used a firearm in at least one of their attacks.
  • Season Three
    • Gary and Ervin Robles (“Children of the Dark”) – Both were serial killers, family annihilators, and robbers who grew up in foster care, escalated from robbing homes with an accomplice to killing families (though Onoprienko’s accomplice never actually participated in his killings and cut off contact with him after his first killing), both killed their victims by stabbing, bludgeoning them with an incidental object, or shooting (though Gary attempted to by proxy, and this failed), killed the familes’ children out of mercy, and stole from them afterwards.
  • Season Four
    • Miranda Dracar (“Outfoxed”) – Both were prolific serial killers, family annihilators, mass murderers, and robbers from European countries, had histories of war (Onoprienko’s father served in World War 2, while Dracar witnessed the Srebrenica massacre during the Yugoslav wars), were orphaned at young ages, and as killers they had a very wide victimology (men, women, and children), killed their victims primarily in their homes (though Onoprienko deviated from this several times) with firearms, bladed weapons, and at least one other method (bludgeoning and dismemberment in Onoprienko’s case, asphyxiation in Dracar’s), stole valuables from them afterwards, buried them in shallow graves (sometimes in Onoprienko’s case), their first murder was a double homicide with years of cool-off time before their next attack, they were active in at least two European countries, their crimes were investigated by elite law enforcement agencies, and at least one other man was interrogated for their crimes while they were still at large. Also, Dracar’s psychosis could be a slight nod to Onoprienko supposedly having delusions involving aliens and hearing voices telling him to kill.
    • Norman Hill (“Normal”) – Both were rampage killers and family annihilators who were married and had children, had family-related stressors (Onoprienko was put in an orphanage by his parents, while Hill lost a daughter and felt emasculated by his wife and surviving daughters), targeted both families and lone victims (though the only family Hill killed was his own), shot them with a 12-gauge shotgun, shot at least some of their victims in their cars, and were given nicknames for their crimes. Also, the way Hill had hallucinations spurring him to kill could be a slight nod to how Onoprienko alleged that voices and external forces urged him to kill.

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