Nikolai Rakossi, the man believed to have brutally stabbed to death a mother and daughter in their East 13th Street apartment before fleeing to Russia, has been apprehended by Russian authorities after more than two years on the lam.
RIA Novosti, a government operated Russian news agency based in Moscow, is reporting that Russian police took Rakossi into custody yesterday. Rakossi is identified as a “resident of Novomoskovsk, a town in the Tula province, south of Moscow.” The report indicates that Russian authorities have been on the hunt for Rakossi since U.S. investigators turned over materials to Russian prosecutors after it was believed that Rakossi fled back to his native country.
Their bodies were discovered with multiple stab wounds to the face and torso late at night on April 17, 2011, in their apartment at 2299 East 13th Street, off of Gravesend Neck Road. Police were following up on a report that Larisa had gone missing after she didn’t show to pick up her 2-year-old son from her father’s home. The father, Felix Zeltser, filed the report at the 61st Precinct, and police stumbled across the double homicide when they visited her apartment.
Larisa worked in the maternity ward at Mount Sinai Medical Center, and her mother was a nurse at Brookdale University Hospital in Brooklyn. The 2-year-old son remains in Zeltser’s custody.
As authorities pieced together the crime scene, they came to believe that Rakossi, the mother’s boyfriend, was the murderer, and soon discovered that he had boarded a flight back to Russia from John F. Kennedy airport.
Rakossi reportedly called his sister, Lydia, from the Brooklyn apartment the day the bodies were found, and the evening of which he boarded the flight.
“He was in tears,” Lydia, who lives in Russia, said of the phone call. ”He told me: ‘Please don’t keep any offense in your heart about me. Forgive me. You will never see me again.’”
Lydia believed he would commit suicide.
”Knowing him, I don’t think he would be able to live with himself and carry the burden of having killed the person he loved more than himself, and her daughter,” she told reporters after the call.
The NYPD began working with the U.S. State Department and Russian officials to apprehend Rakossi, although investigators at the time seemed skeptical of success.
Family and friends of the victims operate a Facebook page in their memory.
Beyond the report from the Russian state media agency, we have not yet been able to confirm the arrest. It is also not yet clear if Rakossi will be prosecuted in Russia or the United States. We have contacted the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office and the NYPD for more information.