A Russian scientist and part-time model has been found dead in her apartment without her thumb, which was reportedly found at the home of a man suspected of using it to access her phone, according to a report.
The naked body of Ekaterina Antontseva, 34, a biochemist at the St. Petersburg Technological Institute, was found by her boyfriend, a construction entrepreneur, when he returned from a business trip.
Authorities said she was apparently strangled last week.
The suspect — an avid computer gamer identified only as Artyom, 36 — has been detained on suspicion of murder.
He is suspected of using Antontseva’s thumb to access her cellphone to send since-deleted messages saying she was sick and unable to go to work.
Investigators believe he may have owed Antontseva money — leading to an argument about repaying it.
After she was killed, gaps in the windows and doors inside her apartment were reportedly sealed to prevent a stench from being detected by her neighbors.
“We all grieve very much. She was a very good person, very sympathetic,” said Dr. Mark Shamtsyan, head of the microbiological synthesis technology department at the institute, the outlet reported, citing pdmnews.ru.
“We all loved and respected her, and now it’s hard to talk about it. This is all unexpected for us,” he added. “She … loved her work, she liked working with students. She was a good researcher and teacher.”
Shamtsyan said Antontseva’s co-workers began looking for her when she didn’t show up for work.
“And on the weekend we received information from the investigating authorities,” he said.