Russia reopens probe into disappearance of two girls aged three

Russia reopens Madeleine McCann-style probe into the mysterious disappearance of two girls aged three in 2013

  • Ayana Vinokurova and Alina Ivanova vanished from Sinsk in Yakutia, Russia
  • Top criminal investigator, Alexander Bastrykin, has sent detectives from Moscow
  • Move comes after pressure from girls’ two families who have not given up hope 

Russia has reopened a Madeleine McCann-style probe into the mysterious disappearance of two girls aged three in June 2013.

Ayana Vinokurova and Alina Ivanova were last seen playing in the yard of a house in the remote village of Sinsk in the region of Yakutia, Russia, before they vanished.    

The girls were last seen outside Alina’s grandfather Gavrila Ivanov’s house on June 24, 2013. 


Ayana Vinokurova (pictured left) and Alina Ivanova (pictured right), both aged three, were last seen playing outside a house in the village of Sinsk in Yakutia, Russia, in 2013

The girls were last seen outside Alina’s grandfather Gavrila Ivanov’s house (pictured) on June 24, 2013

Following their disappearance, an extensive search and criminal investigation failed to locate the children or find what happened to them.

Now top detectives have been sent 5,150 miles east from Moscow in a fresh attempt to solve the crime, ordered by Russia’s top criminal investigator, Alexander Bastrykin.

Mr Bastrykin is a former university classmate of Vladimir Putin who heads the Russian Investigative Committee, which has been compared to the FBI.

The move comes after pressure from the girls’ two families who say they have not given up hope of finding the children alive.  

Alina’s father Alexei Ivanov said: ‘There is not a single clue so far, no witnesses, no traces.’

Russia’s top criminal investigator, Alexander Bastrykin, (pictured) has sent top detectives from Moscow in a fresh attempt to solve the crime

Following their disappearance, an extensive search and criminal investigation failed to locate the children or find what happened to them (pictured: The search operation) 

He welcomed the decision to send detectives from Moscow who have begun quizzing villagers, and have been ordered by Mr Bastrykin to come up with new leads.

The girls had been sent for the summer from regional capital Yakutsk to stay with grandparents in the cut-off village, which is only accessible by boat. 

The original investigation examined whether they had been snatched by a paedophile or murderer among the 850 population.

It also considered whether they might have been eaten by a wild bear from the nearby forest, or swept away any the Lena River, the 11th longest in the world, which flows nearby.

Helicopters, drones, dogs, boats, divers and thermal imaging devices were involved in the search for the girls, who were both the only children in their families.

There were also 1,800 people interrogated, including 62 teenagers and 41 people with a criminal or psychiatric history.  


At 7:45pm on the day the girls disappeared, Alina’s grandfather Mr Ivanov (left) called his wife Olga (right) to say he was leaving for work but when she returned she couldn’t find the children

At 7:45pm on the day the girls disappeared, Alina’s grandfather Mr Ivanov called his wife Olga to say he was leaving for work.

When she returned 15 minutes later she could not find her granddaughter or her friend. She started looking, and was joined by police and 350 volunteers. 

There was also forensic checks on all vehicles, motorbikes and boats.

One of the suspects – the grandfather who last saw the girls’ alive – twice confessed to accidentally running them over, and burying their bodies.

Twice he withdrew his confessions, and local prosecutors evidently do not believe he killed them. 

The girls had been sent for the summer from regional capital Yakutsk to stay with grandparents in the cut-off village, which is only accessible by boat (pictured: Where the girls played) 

The original investigation examined whether they had been snatched by a paedophile or murderer among the 850 population of the village of Sinsk (pictured) 

A 32-year-old neighbour, boat-owning Vasily Latyshev, was also under suspicion. He was described as ‘vulnerable and impressionable’ with an ‘unstable psyche’.

Almost a year after the children vanished, he committed suicide. 

The dead man’s relatives say that he was confronted by locals who demanded he admitted killing the girls.  

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