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5 Apr, 2008 11:12

Girl aged 7 sees sister raped and murdered

Saturday has been declared a day of mourning in the small Urals town of Zlatoust following the funerals of Anya Makhnatkina and Anya Lyutykh. The two schoolgirls, aged 12 and 13, were raped and murdered not far from their homes. Police from the Chelyabins

The bodies of the two girls were found near railway tracks on the line between Zlatoust and the city of Chelyabinsk. Police say they had been raped, strangled and stabbed. Anya Lyutykh’s seven-year-old sister Valeria was found nearby – she miraculously survived.

When police found Valeria, she was saying ‘A man killed my sister, over there in the trees!’

City authorities immediately launched a manhunt. The Governor of the Chelyabinsk region has since issued a 500,000 rouble reward for information leading to the capture of the girls’ killer. For the moment, police have only Valeria’s description of her attacker to work with.

The prosecutors’ main suspicion is that the culprit is mentally ill.

More police have been sent to help in the investigation, and school teachers have been told to warn children about the need for personal safety.

As the investigation continues, attention has turned to protecting other young children in the area.