Hometown Murder 1: Stay Out of the (New Jersey) Forest - THAT'S WHERE THE BODIES ARE

Hey Ladies!!!

Ok, here's some hometown murder action for ya, sorry if this is a bit long! 

When I was about 10 years old my family moved from CA to New Jersey. The Sopranos was at the height of it's popularity so the reputation of NJ was a bit weird (somehow, New Jersey's respectability would manage to sink further still thanks to the Jersey Shore, Chris Christie, the list goes on.... ughhhhh) The Sopranos used locations all around my new neighborhood to film so jokes about mob hits were very common. 

For years I heard people mention that the forest area that borders my town, called South Orange Reservation, would have made a great mafia body dump site, but to my knowledge there weren't any actual bodies found in there (spoiler alert: I was wrong, obviously.) As I got older, the reservation was a nice place for a hike or dog walk, but at night would transform into a far less wholesome place for teens to park and hookup, get drunk, you get the idea. 

Quick side note from Wikipedia - Turns out the Sopranos production team was denied a permit to film in at the South Mountain Reservation by the Essex County commissioner who called The Sopranos a "disgrace to Italians". The same commissioner was later incarcerated for corruption.

As I was about to graduate high school they actually DID FIND A BODY IN THE FOREST THERE!!!! Or, I should say, they found several plastic bags along the road through the reservation with various limbs in them, but no head or torso - fun! As just a wee, budding murderino back then, I was fascinated. 

They eventually used DNA to identify the victim: Viktor Alekseyeva, 35, of Brooklyn. Turns out he was one of 3 victims of Dmitriy Yakovlev, a Russian immigrant and trained surgeon and identity thief. Dmitriy personally knew all 3 of his victims, stole their identities, stole their money and personal documentation, and then killed them off. The personal documents of his 3 victims were found in his possession and experts testified that the dismemberment of Victor's body suggested an expertise with anatomy, like, you know, a Russian surgeon identity thief might have. He was sentenced in 2011 for a whopping 30 years (ummm wut???) His wife was also sentenced for her role helping him in credit card fraud and ID theft, but doesn't sound like she got any time for murder... Crazy.

While looking up the details for this particular murder, I found that this is not the only body found there. Guess the joke was on me. For example, a handful of missing persons (not ruled as homicide) but also several dead bodies found in suitcases - FUN?!

Ok, that's all. Shoutout to websleuths for consolidating a whole bunch of this info for me to obsesses over! And shoutout to you two for being hilarious and managing to make us crime loving weirdos feel connected. I binge-listened to all your episodes over the last few weeks and I kind of feel like you're my good friends now - as in I've picked up some of your speech patterns (bYEEE, i'm SORRY, fuck everyone, etc) Thanks for doing what you do, bravo!

Anna C