(1952 - June 23, 2008) was a Macedonian crime reporter turned serial
killer. A career journalist for over twenty years, Taneski was arrested
in June 2008 for the murder of two women on whose death he had also
written articles. These articles on the murders had aroused the
suspicion of the police, since they contained information which was not
released to the public. Once after DNA tests connected Taneski to the
murders, he was imprisoned on June 22, 2008 and was found dead in his
cell the next day after an apparent suicide.
Vlado Taneski's journalistic career spanned over
twenty years. Taneski was separated from his wife who he had two
children with and had a tense relationship with his late mother. His
father had committed suicide in 1990.
Murders and suicide
Taneski came under suspicion for murder after having
written articles about the murders of three women in Kičevo, Republic of
Macedonia. The victims were Mitra Simjanoska, 64, found dead in 2005;
Ljubica Licoska, 56, murdered in February 2007; and Zivana Temelkoska,
65, murdered in May 2008. Police were also planning to question Taneski
on the 2003 disappearance of the 78-year-old Gorica Pavleska. All these
women were poor, uneducated cleaners, which was, incidentally, also how
Taneski's mother earned a living. The victims had known Taneski's mother
According to police, the articles contained
information which was not released to the public. Differing from all
other reports published in the Macedonian press on the murders, Taneski
knew, for example, what type of phone cord the killer used. He was
arrested on June 22, 2008 after his DNA was matched to the semen found
on the victims. He was charged with the murder of two of the women and
the police were preparing to charge him with the murder of the third.
The next day, Taneski was found dead from an apparent suicide in his
cell at a prison in Tetovo. He was found with his head in a bucket of
Macedonian Murder Suspect Dead
By Dan Bilefsky
June 24, 2008
PRAGUE — A Macedonian journalist who wrote vivid
accounts of the grisly murders of three cleaning women was found dead in
his cell on Monday after the police arrested him on suspicion that he
was the killer.
In a case that has gripped Macedonia, the journalist,
Vlado Taneski, 56, was jailed Sunday after publishing articles on the
killings that the police said had details they had not made public and
could have been known only to the killer.
Ivo Kotevski, a police spokesman, said by telephone
from Skopje, the capital, that after the articles aroused suspicions,
the police began investigating Mr. Taneski, who had been a respected
journalist for more than 20 years.
They arrested him Sunday after his DNA was matched to
semen found on the victims, whose bodies were found naked, wrapped in
telephone cables and stuffed into nylon bags in different places in
Kicevo, about 75 miles southwest of Skopje.
On Monday, Mr. Taneski was found in the cell he was
sharing with two other men, his head in a bucket of water. The police
said the death seemed to be a suicide.
In an article in the newspaper New Macedonia — with
the headline “Serial Killer Stalks Kicevo” — Mr. Taneski wrote that one
of the victims, Ljubica Licoska, 56, was abducted after two men
approached her, told her that her son had been injured and then lured
her to their car.
In an article for another newspaper, he faulted the
police for implicating two men in the death of one of the victims,
noting that they had been in jail at the time of the crime. “We read his
stories and it made us suspicious,” Mr. Kotevski said. “He knew too much.”
The police said the victims were Zivana Temelkoska,
65, whose body was discovered this year; Ms. Licoska, who was found dead
in 2007; and Mitra Simjanoska, 64, who was found dead in 2005. The
police said they were still searching for a 78-year-old woman who was
reported missing in 2003, who they suspect was also a victim.
Investigators noted similarities between the women
thought to have been victims — all poor, uneducated cleaners — and Mr.
Taneski’s mother, with whom he had a severely strained relationship,
they said. All of the women knew his mother, they said.
Ognen Cancarevik, a crime reporter at New Macedonia,
who collaborated with Mr. Taneski on the articles, said he and other
colleagues at the newspaper were in shock. “He was a nice and educated
guy who seemed completely normal,” Mr. Cancarevik said. “When the police
rang me to say, ‘Your reporter is the murderer,’ I could barely believe
Mr. Cancarevik said Mr. Taneski was separated from
his wife and had two grown children. He said that he had a tense
relationship with his mother and that his father committed suicide in
1990. “He was so calm when he was discussing the murders. All of these
women lived only meters away from his house.”
Ljupco Popovski, the editor in chief of Utrinski
Vesnik, another newspaper Mr. Taneski worked for, said he was an
exceptionally quiet man. “I would never believe that he is capable of
doing something like that,” he told The Associated Press.
Mr. Kotevski said that the police would continue to
investigate, but added that with the suspect dead, “we may never know
exactly what happened.”
The shocking story of the
newspaper crime reporter who knew too much
Journalist kills himself as he is linked to four
Helena Smith - The Guardian
Tuesday 24 June 2008
When Vlado Taneski wrote about the serial killer
stalking his hometown in Macedonia, his eye for detail was such that the
story was soon riveting readers. The journalist's inside knowledge of
the brutal murders of three elderly women in the tiny town of Kicevo
ensured that newspaper editors gave his columns prominence.
Yesterday the 56-year-old father-of-two killed
himself by dunking his head in a bucket of water in the toilet at a
prison in the town of Tetovo, after it was revealed he had been charged
with the murders he had written about.
"All these women were raped, molested and murdered in
the most terrible way and we have very strong evidence that Taneski was
responsible for all three," said police spokesman Ivo Kotevski speaking
from the capital Skopje. "In the end there were many things that pointed
to him as a suspect and led us to file charges against him for two of
the murders," he added. "We were close to charging him with a third
murder, and hoped he would give us details of a fourth woman who
disappeared in 2003 - because we believe he was involved in that case,
Of all the things which gave Taneski away, police
point to his in-depth coverage of a story which is being reported as one
of the most bizarre events to have befallen the two-million strong mini-state.
The three women were aged between 65 and 56. Zivana
Temelkoska, Ljubica Licoska, and Mitra Simjanoska were each beaten
repeatedly and strangled with a phone cable. Temelkoska was murdered in
May, Licoska in February last year and Simjanoska in 2005.
They shared a common background in being cleaners, a
job which Taneski's deceased mother had held for years.
Each of the three bodies was discovered wrapped in
plastic bags and dumped and discarded around Kicevo, a drab town
southwest of Skopje with a population of fewer than 20,000. The fourth
woman, aged 78, went missing in 2003, and her body has never been found.
It was the ostensibly mild-mannered journalist's
intricate account of the murders which led to suspicion.
But what made it unmistakable was his inclusion of
details police had chosen not to release. Unlike any of his journalist
rivals, Taneski knew the type of phone chord the killer used as his "signature
weapon" - reporting, without attribution, that the cord had been used to
strangle as well as tie up the bodies of the women; and, even more
brazenly, he speculated about the chronology of the murders.
"On May 18, just after the gruesome murder of Zivana
Temelkoska, he called and pitched the story to us," said Goce Trpkovski,
a reporter at the daily Nova Makedonija.
"He was very quietly spoken but also very persuasive.
As a contributor we published his story as the main article on the crime
pages the next day - under the headline 'A serial killer stalks Kicevo,
too' - because the murders followed a series of killings in Ochrid,
although they were nothing like this.
"To tell the truth, I didn't believe the story -
almost nothing happens in Macedonia, and suddenly we have two serial
killers stalking our tiny country in a matter of months."
What neither the staff at Utrinski Vesnik, another
newspaper that he contributed to, or any of his many friends, could also
believe, was how a man described as "unbelievably low-key and soft-natured"
was capable of such crimes.
Yesterday, his estranged wife told Canal 5, a local
TV station, that she had enjoyed "an ideal marriage" with Taneski for 31
years. "He was always quiet and gentle. The only time I ever saw him get
aggressive was when we were living with his parents," she told the
As police released more details yesterday, it did
emerge there was also a darker side to Taneski's life. A large
collection of pornographic videos and magazines was found in his summer
And, adding to the fact the victims were cleaners, as
was Taneski's dead mother, police noted all three bore a striking
resemblance to her. He is believed to have had a troubled relationship
with his mother, one which worsened considerably after his father killed
himself in 1990.
"There is obvious symbolism in the fact that his
mother, like the victims, was a cleaner," said Antoni Novotni, a
professor who heads the psychiatric clinic in Skopje. "This is pure
speculation - as he was never my patient - but one explanation could be
that he wanted to be caught by letting slip what he did in his articles,"
Novotni told the Guardian.
"Perhaps he saw it as a way of resolving his inner
problems, and getting rid of the burden which came with killing these
From a piece by Vlado Taneski, published in Nova
Makedonija on May 19 2008
The people of Kicevo live in fear after another
butchered body has been found in the town. The corpse strongly resembles
one discovered 20 kilometres outside Kicevo last year and there is a
possibility that these monstrous murders are the work of a serial killer.
Both women were tortured and murdered in the same
fashion, which rules out the possibility that this could have been done
by two different people. The Ochrid serial killer murdered three people
[in 2007] but his victims were all street-based money exchangers and his
motive was to rob them.
The motive of the Kicevo monster remains unclear.
Both women were friends and living in the same part of town. Police have
a few suspects who they are interrogating.
The latest body was found in rubbish dump. It had
been tied up with a piece of phone cable with which the woman had
clearly been previously strangled.