|“||I always loved to hunt, often went hunting, but this was my first time hunting a woman.||”|
— Dzhumagaliev on his first murder
Nikolai Espolovich Dzhumagaliev , a.k.a. "Metal Fang", among others, is a Kazakh necrophilic and cannibalistic serial killer and serial rapist who killed at least ten people in three phases, each separated by his institutionalizations.
Dzhumagaliev was born to a Kazakh father and a Belarussian mother in Uzun-Agach (modern Uzynagash, Kazakhstan), a town near Alma-Ata (now Almaty), the then-capital of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. He was the fourth of five children, and his childhood was completely normal by all accounts. He studied in a railway school and did the mandatory military service in the chemical defense corps at Samarkand and Otar. In 1973, he applied both to enter Kazakh University and for a chauffeur job, but he failed on both accounts. After these two setbacks, he traveled through the Urals, Siberia, and Murmansk, taking various blue-collar jobs. Though considered a "second-rate man" physically, and known for missing his front teeth as a result of a fistfight (which he had replaced with white metal dentures), he was valued for being always clean-shaven and well-dressed, and had little trouble picking up women and having casual sex. In 1977, he returned to Uzun-Agach, where he took a job as a firefighter. Shortly after, he was diagnosed with two sexually-transmitted diseases, syphilis and trichomoniasis. Dzhumagaliev blamed women as a whole, and he developed an intense hatred for them.
Murders, Arrests, and Institutionalizations
Dzhumagaliev's first murder on January 1979 was meticulously planned. He selected a Seventh-Day Adventist woman walking alone by the side of the road between Uzun-Agach and Maibulak and approached her from behind. When she turned back, he grabbed her, dragged her to the side of the road, and slashed her throat while he raped her, drinking the blood emanating from the wound afterwards. A bus stopped by that section of the road for a time, during which he hid next to the corpse and used it for warmth. After the bus left, he undressed the body and cut out the breasts, organs, hips, and thighs, which he put in a backpack and took home. He cooked the flesh and ate it for the next month. Though a criminal investigation was opened for the grisly murder, it was closed because of the lack of leads. Dzhumagaliev murdered five more women over the following six months, but on August 21, he shot a firefighter colleague during a drunken fight. Unaware of the serial killings, the police arrested Dzhumagaliev for manslaughter, but he was found not guilty by reason of insanity after he was diagnosed with schizophrenia at Moscow's Serbsky Institute.
Dzhumagaliev was released after a year and returned to Uzun-Agach, where he killed three more women and served their flesh to unsuspecting friends in cookouts. During the last one, Dzhumagaliev murdered a female friend and began to dismember her with an ax in the room next to where two other guests were. They observed Dzhumagaliev without him noticing them, fled, and reported him to the police. The officers were so shocked to find Dzhumagaliev hacking the corpse while in the nude and covered in blood, that he was able to escape without incident, still armed with the ax. However, he was arrested the next day in his cousin's home. While in custody, Dzhumagaliev confessed to the women's murders, claiming that they were prostitutes and that he wanted to rid the world of them. He was tried on December 3, 1981, and was once again found insane. This time, the court established that he should be sent to a mental clinic where he would receive compulsory treatment.
Dzhumagaliev escaped from custody on August 29, 1989, while he was being transported to another mental facility. He made his way to Kyrgyzstan, where he hid in the mountains and traded wild medicinal plants for food. As he felt the authorities closing in, he contacted a friend and convinced him to send a letter to Dzhumagaliev's family from Moscow, in order to make the government believe that Dzhumagaliev was still in the capital. The letter finished with Dzhumagaliev's reassurance that he would not return home because there were many women in Moscow and nobody would miss them. This information was picked up by the newspaper Kurants, which also reported that Dzhumagaliev had been seen in the city and its surrounding region. The authorities refuted this information publicly in order to avoid a panic.
In April 1991, Dzhumagaliev got tired of being on the run, and devised a plan to get himself arrested for a minor crime and sent to jail under a false identity. He stole sheep in Fergana, Uzbekistan, with the aim of being imprisoned in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent. After his arrest, he confessed to the theft and claimed to be a Chinese citizen. However, he could not explain how he had entered the Soviet Union. The Fergana police got suspicious and requested help from Moscow. As a result, Moscow detective Yuri Dubyagin traveled to Fergana, and he immediately recognized Dzhumagaliev. Dzhumagaliev was again sent to a mental hospital. After the fall of the USSR, the hospital declared him sane and attempted to send him back to his hometown repeatedly, but this could not be accomplished because of the strong opposition of the locals. Eventually, he was moved to a high-security mental clinic in Aktas, a village near Almaty, where he remains today and is allowed to work as a repairman. Dzhumagaliev petitioned unsuccessfully to be given the death penalty during his third institutionalization. In 2014, he was charged with the 1990 murder of a female student in Aktobe (formerly Aktyubinsk), western Kazakhstan, whose death fit Dzhumagaliev's M.O.
In January 2016, a rumor gained traction in Whatsapp and Facebook, claiming that Dzhumagaliev had escaped again and murdered a woman on New Year's Eve. The information was picked up by tabloids in Australia and the United Kingdom, but Kazakh police merely stated that there was no order of arrest for Dzhumagaliev. A 21-year-old female student from Uzynagash was later identified as the originator of the rumor and arrested.
After his first murder, Dzhumagaliev would lure lone women to dark spots or his own home, where he would rape them both before and after killing them with a knife or an ax, drink their blood from the wound, and dismember them. He would then save portions in his fridge, cooking and eating the flesh, fat, and viscera. In at least one occasion, he used the flesh to make pelmeni. He is believed to have served some of the flesh to unwitting friends at cookouts, although he denied it.
- Unspecified date and location: An unnamed victim (assaulted in a fist fight)
- Uzun-Agach, Kazakh SSR:
- January: An unnamed Adventist woman (stabbed in the throat; drank her blood and ate her thighs and viscera)
- January-August: Four unnamed women
- August 21: An unnamed male firefighter (shot in a drunken daze)
- Unspecified dates: Two unnamed women
- December 18: An unnamed female friend (killed and dismembered in his home with an ax)
- Unspecified date in 1990, Aktyubinsk, Kazakh SSR: An unnamed 24 year-old woman
- Note: Dzhumagaliev is suspected to have killed more women during the time he was at large, between 1989 and 1991.
On Criminal Minds
While Dzhumagaliev was never directly mentioned or referenced on the show (or its spin-offs), he appears to have been an inspiration for the following unsubs:
- Season Three
- Floyd Feylinn Ferell ("Lucky" and "Lucky Strikes") - Both are mentally ill cannibalistic serial killers who were institutionalized before (at least the last few in Dzhumagaliev's case) their murders, mainly targeted women (though Dzhumagaliev once killed a man), killed them by slashing their throats (once in Dzhumagaliev's case), dismembered their victims' bodies and kept them (or at least portions in Dzhumagaliev's case) in their homes, and (possibly in Dzhumagaliev's case) served their remains to people. Ferell also appeared in Season Thirteen.
- Season Nine
- Wallace Hines ("The Inspiration" and "The Inspired") - Both are serial killers and rapists who mainly targeted women (though both also shot and killed at least one man), mutilated them, and fed their remains to unsuspecting customers at the restaurants they worked at (though Dzhumagaliev is only suspected of doing this).
- Season Thirteen
- Marcus Manning ("Lucky Strikes") - Both were cannibalistic serial killers (budding at least) who committed an assault prior to their killings, primarily targeted women (though Dzhumagaliev also killed a man), killed them with knives (though Dzhumagaliev also used an axe and even a firearm at one point), and dismembered and cannibalized their remains. Also, the way the BAU assumed Ferell to have begun killing again after his release could be a slight nod to how Dzhumagaliev was released despite having committed several murders (unbeknownst to authorities, who arrested him for manslaughter) and resumed killing.
On Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders
- Season Two
- Oleg Antakov ("The Ripper of Riga") - Both were serial killers who used sharp metallic teeth to mutilate their victims, were given nicknames based on it, and managed to escape the facilities they were sent to. Also Antakov's device being called a "Metal Fang" could possibly be a direct nod to Dzhumagaliev.
- Wikipedia's article about Dzhumagaliev
- Russian Wikipedia's article about Dzhumagaliev
- 12 Facts About Soviet Serial Killer Nikolai Dzhumagaliev, AKA 'Metal Fang'
- also spelled "Dzhurmongaliev"