Authorities say Sacramento killer may be psychotic
SACRAMENTO (AP) – Evidence he used toys to lure his 3-year-old son to his death hours after killing five other relatives suggests that Nikolay Soltys may be more than a methodical killer, criminal experts said Wednesday.
Soltys, an unemployed Ukrainian immigrant, continued to elude an intense nationwide manhunt two days after the fatal stabbings of his son, pregnant wife and four other family members.
Sacramento County Sheriff Lou Blanas called Soltys a ”cold-blooded, calculated killer” and warned that anyone assisting the missing man was ”at risk of being his next victim.”
Authorities said they were protecting at least a dozen relatives of Soltys in the Sacramento area Wednesday, because authorities feared he may kill again.
The pattern of slayings – vicious stabbings interspersed with deliberate decision-making – suggest he’s delusional, rather than just engaging in crimes of rage or opportunity, said forensic psychologist Barry Rosenfeld, a professor at Fordham University in New York City.
”Once there is a cooling-off period in between some of the murders, then it’s no longer a spree,” Rosenfeld added.
Sacramento sheriff’s investigators agreed after finding toys in the cardboard box along with the body of Sergey Soltys Tuesday afternoon. They also said evidence showed the boy may have been ”violated,” but refused to elaborate.
The Sacramento County Coroner’s Office said Wednesday that no evidence of sexual abuse was found on the boy. The coroner reported the child had bruising on his legs and back ”consistent with physical abuse.”
Sheriff’s Detective Ron Garverick said two sets of footsteps – one belonging to a barefoot adult – went into the area where they found the boy’s body under a microwave tower east of Sacramento. Only one set of footprints led out, and authorities found a small pair of sandals at the scene, Garverick said.
”Little Sergey was found in the box sort of head down,” Garverick said.
Soltys, Garverick said, may be driving an emerald green Ford Explorer with a rear hatch painted a lighter shade of green. His 1995 Nissan Altima was found abandoned Monday.
Investigators said the reward for information leading to Soltys’ capture had climbed to $30,000.
Authorities said Soltys has relatives in New York, North Carolina and possibly Oregon and Washington state. In Oregon, federal agents joined in the search for the fugitive.
”It’s not so much that we have indications that he’s here,” said Beth Ann Steele, spokeswoman for FBI Portland. ”There’s a possibility that he might have friends or family living in Oregon.”
In three separate incidents Monday, authorities said, Soltys stabbed his pregnant wife, Lyubov, at their home in one Sacramento suburb and then drove 20 minutes to another suburb and killed four other relatives. Then, investigators said, Soltys drove to his mother’s home to pick up his son. Then he killed the boy and dumped his body.
Those movements, authorities said Wednesday, show someone acting with cold precision, not someone in a sudden, passionate rage.
Two notes scrawled on the back of family photographs, evidence and other clues found at three separate murder scenes ”indicate that he had some order in which things happened,” said Garverick, the lead investigator.
Authorities found Sergey Soltys’ body Tuesday afternoon after following directions written in Russian on the back of a photograph of the child and his mother that was left in the Nissan. The note said the boy was at a trash pile in a rural area of Placer County, northeast of Sacramento.
In the car, they also found a second note from Soltys with a numbered list referring to the slayings, suggesting each had been killed ”for speaking out,” Garverick said. ”The writing in effect said: ‘Number one, this was for Lyubov, for her speaking,’ or ‘for her tongue.”’
Police had said family members may have chastised Soltys for not having a job, but Garverick said the meaning of the message was unclear.
Soltys, Rosenfeld said, may have been acting under psychotic delusions that led him to believe there was a rational reason to kill persons on his list.
”If he’s delusional and has these delusional beliefs, he could have anybody on the list,” he said.
Criminal profiler John Philpin agreed the ”complicated chain of behavior” Soltys allegedly displayed indicates he was not acting in the heat of passion and may have had a calculated plan.
”Either he changed his clothes or certainly washed his hands, which shows an ability to think,” Philpin said.
Authorities have issued a warrant for Soltys for five of the killings.
A Sacramento mechanic reported seeing Soltys and his son in the second vehicle at about 8 p.m. Monday, investigators said. It was the last time the boy would be seen alive and police have found no sign of Soltys since.
Garverick said detectives believe that someone may be helping Soltys, perhaps unknowingly, and may have given him directions that could help him flee.
A memorial service has been scheduled Sunday for the slain family members at Bethany Slavic Missionary Church outside Sacramento.
On the Net: http://www.sacsheriff.com
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Incline Village General Improvement District Trustee Kendra Wong gave an emotional statement in defense of district staff during Wednesday’s board meeting.