Russian TV silent after young girl beheaded

Last Updated Mar 1, 2016 10:07 AM EST

MOSCOW -- None of the main Russian television channels have carried reports about the arrest of a woman accused of killing a 4-year-old girl in her care and then waving the child's severed head outside a Moscow subway station.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman on Tuesday denied that the news was withheld at the request of the Kremlin or out of concerns that the brutal killing could stoke ethnic tensions in a country with many Muslims.

The suspect is a 38-year-old woman from Uzbekistan who some witnesses said shouted "Allahu akbar" while waving the head on the street on Monday. On videos posted on Russian news websites, she is heard shouting "I am a terrorist" in Russian.

Investigators said the woman, who appeared to be mentally unstable, was the child's nanny.

Reports suggested she waited until the child's parents and sibling had left the apartment, then murdered the girl and set the home on fire. Neighbors said the fire spread quickly and there was an acrid smell to the smoke.

russiamurderedchild.jpg
A woman brings flowers in remembrance of a young girl murdered in Moscow to a makeshift memorial outside the family's apartment building, March 1, 2016.
REUTERS

While the main television outlets said nothing about the case, Russia's online and print media began Tuesday to paint a picture of a suspect who may have snapped over personal trouble. Various media said the Uzbek woman had been employed by the family for more than a year and that they liked her, but had noted a change in her disposition recently as she went through trouble with her marriage.

Reports Tuesday reinforced initial suggestions that investigators believe the nanny could have been on powerful illegal drugs or medication at the time of the alleged murder.

The slain girl's family was apparently from an area a couple hundred miles south of Moscow, but had moved to the capital to try boost their income enough to afford an operation for their four-year-old daughter.

A makeshift memorial outside the family's apartment building grew Tuesday as Moscow's residents left notes, flowers and toys.