After seeing last night’s America’s Most Wanted broadcast on FOX TV (local channel 5 for us antenna-TV people), I checked the website for the details of the murders that happened in Brighton Beach years ago on November 12, 1995. The site is slightly hard to navigate, but it will be worth our efforts if it helps capture a fugitive and put the one who was nabbed in jail.
Fakhat Askarov, from the Ukraine, and his girlfriend Larisa Jakovleva, from Latvia, were both killed in Askarov’s new apartment in Little Odessa, Brooklyn. Both victims’ bodies were cut up, placed into luggage, then thrown into local waters and New Jersey woods. Some of the body parts came up on shore at the Gerritsen Beach area’s Plumb Beach.
Read more about these murders after the jump.
Ludmilla “Luda” Iotko, who was a friend of Larisa Jakovleva, said in the televised interview that they had become acquainted with at least one of the men through Russian newspapers’ dating classifieds. Although he had a wife in the Ukraine, Anatoliy “Tolik” Valenko had placed ads looking for women in California and New York.
In New Jersey, a witness had identified Valenko’s friend and construction co-worker accomplice, Vladimir “Walter” Balakov as the man who had dumped the suitcases in the woods. Balakov is still a fugitive and may be hiding out in Finland or Russia. For the past 14 years, Balakov may even still be living undetected in Sheepshead Bay, Bensonhurst, Borough Park, Coney Island, Gravesend, or anywhere that Little Odessa has developed into South Brooklyn Odessa.
The “Cigar Squad” — as Essex County Police Department detectives Jim Gold and Mike Prokopiw became known as, since they both smoked cigars — used key photo evidence and Prokopiw’s knowledge of the Russian language to help solve the crime.
You can read more about the gruesome details of the crime at the America’s Most Wanted website — just know that it involves a circular saw.
Yesterday’s report said that Valenko has now been captured, but that his accomplice is still at large.
Accused people are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
With that said, I would like to say to anyone who knew where Valenko was hiding out all these years and didn’t give him up…I know you all must have been afraid of these guys. I’m afraid and I’m just writing a story based on information I saw on the news.
As for the accomplice, Balachov, if you know where he is, it’s not too late to give him up. If Luda is brave enough to go on television to help this case, none of us should be afraid.
Call America’s Most Wanted Tipline with information: