The General Prosecutor's Office said Thursday that there was no connection between the murders of four foreigners who were killed from September 1999 to June 2001, apparently after picking up someone from a gay club in Moscow.
"These murders are not related to one another," Svetlana Baskakova, a prosecutor from the General Prosecutor's Office, said by telephone.
Thus, any fears of a serial killer were unfounded, she said. "These were ordinary murders," Baskakova said.
Similarities in the four murders, combined with the murders of four Russian gay men during the same period, led the U.S. Embassy to suspect the cases may be connected and to issue a warning to Americans in Moscow. One of the victims was an American. The others were citizens of Britain, Australia and Germany.
The embassy urged the prosecutor's office to take another look at the murders, but said it was told the investigations into the deaths of the American and the German had been dropped.
Baskakova, however, said the cases were only suspended. "Investigators never stopped looking for their murderers, or for the murderers of the two other foreigners," she said.
She could not confirm a November report in Moskovsky Komsomolets that police had arrested a suspect in the Australian's death -- a soldier from Kursk who prostituted himself.
Officials in the Moscow city prosecutor's office, which is conducting the investigation, said they were too busy Thursday to comment on the status of the investigations.
The American victim, Steve Malcom, was teaching English in Moscow when he was killed in August 2000. According to a report by Ecumenical News International, a Geneva-based news agency, he was an Episcopal priest from Nebraska and had served in several U.S. parishes before he took an extended sabbatical in 1998 to live and teach in Russia.