Doğan Bilmez - Gökhan Kurt / Kayseri, July 16 () - Three people have been arrested in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri after five shepherds were killed and their animals stolen between 2010 and 2013, in what is presumed to be a rare instance of a serial killing in Turkey.
Homicide detectives in Kayseri noticed a pattern between five seemingly unrelated murders while investigating the murder of İsmail Eser, an 80-year-old shepherd killed in 2013.
All killings were committed with a shotgun and targeted shepherds, after which the deceased shepherds’ animals were stolen.
The first murder was committed in 2010 against 52-year-old Zulgarneyn Taşdelen in the village of Havadan in Kayseri’s Develi district.
This was followed by two killings in 2011 with the deaths of Bayram Aki and Salih Aksoğan, both 56-year-old shepherds.
In 2012, 70-year-old Durdu Mehmet Pınarbaşı was murdered in the Koçcağız village of the Talas district.
All murders have remained unsolved up to today as they were committed in desolate mountainous terrain without any eyewitnesses.
The city’s homicide department formed a special team to blend in with the villagers and gather first-hand accounts of the killings.
During the investigation, officers looked into hundreds of individuals deemed suspicious. It is reported that up to one million phone calls were wiretapped and examined over the course of five years.
The police eventually singled the investigation down to four suspects after wiretapped conversations revealed details about the murders of Aksoğan and Eser.
The suspects were sent to the prosecutor’s office after a cross examination revealed conflicting accounts of events.
Three of the suspects, two siblings and their cousin, were sent to jail pending trial by the court, while the fourth suspect was released with a judicial control decision.
The homicide department is continuing its investigation.