A family couple from Moldova – Vladimir Grechushkin and Airini-Sofia Baskaya – were found guilty of committing a brutal murder of their adopted son and tormenting their two other adopted children. The jury unanimously ruled that the defendants must be punished for their crimes as severely as possible. The judge will announce the measure of punishment for the spouses on December 1. Most likely, the husband and wife will be sentenced to life in prison.
The naked and bruised body of a three-year-old boy was found underneath the bridge across the Pekhorka River in the Moscow region on January 26 of this year. When the body was pulled out of the water, it turned out that his hands and feet were tied with adhesive tape, and there was a car battery pack attached to his stomach. The boy was extremely exhausted – he weighed only 9.5 kilos.
Forensic experts said that the boy had been thrown into the river two days before he was found. The boy’s photograph was published in mass media and pasted up everywhere around.
Several people from a fitness center in Moscow’s Lyubertsy region appeared at a local police station several days later. The people said that they had recognized a three-year-old Sasha on the picture. The boy would come to the center with his two-year-old sister Erika and their parents. The people also said that the parents were very rude to the children.
The father of the children, Vladimir Grechushkin (32), and his wife, Airini-Sofia Baskaya (21), arrived in the Moscow region from Tiraspol, Moldova, where they had adopted three children in December 2008. The kids were Danil Boiko (3 y.o.), Anastasia Lukyanova (2 y.o.) and his brother Anatoly (1 y.o). The foster parents registered the children under different names: Alexander-Allar, Erika-Anneta and Vsevolod-Gerbert.
The body of the elder son, Danil (Alexander-Allar, or Sasha), was subsequently found in the river. It later became known that the youngest of the three children died too. The little boy died on December 24, 2008 on board the plane bound for Thailand, where the parents took their children for holidays.
Experts said that the little boy died of the inhalation of food which occurred against the background of acute respiratory parainfluenzal infection.
Witnesses said at court that the parents were very calm about what happened. When the child died, the plane returned to Moscow, and the parents cremated the body.
The spouses were arrested in Moscow on February 5. Erika-Anneta, the last of the three children who stayed alive, was with them. The girl was taken to a Moscow orphanage. Employees of the orphanage later said that the girl was exhausted because of undernourishment and ailments.
The foster parents did not plead guilty during the trial. They said that the children were sick and died of their own diseases. They also said that they had drowned Danil when the boy was already dead: they feared that the death of the second child would attract the attention of the police.
Alexey Navalny returned to Russia on January 17. He was detained upon arrival at the Sheremetyevo Airport. A court arrested Navalny for 30 days