Vlado Taneski was a freelance crime journalist in a small town called Kičevo, Macedonia. Filing mostly crime reports for Skopje-based newspapers Nova Makedonija and Utrinski Vesnik, Vlado had to work hard. A slow news day meant no money.
Suddenly, the small nation of Macedonia was shocked. In the first time of its history, there was an active serial killer in their country. And everything was happening in Vlado’s hometown, not too far away from where the 55-year-old true crime writer lived, who seemed to have incredible insights to the events. As the murder count rose, Vlado fed the information-hungry nation with reports.
Vlado’s home life was far from normal, living with strict and conservative parents, he didn’t have much control over the family affairs. When his sister and brother decided to move out, their parents forbid them to enter the house ever again. But when Vlado got married and became a father, he moved his family to live with his parents. His neighbors and co-workers described him as strange and anti-social, but calm and well educated.
His father killed himself in 1990, which worsened the troubled relationship with his mother. Following the death of his father, Vlado’s wife moved to the capital to find work and took their children with her. Shortly after this, his mother died.
Three women were killed over the span of 3 years, all between the ages of 56 and 65: Zivana Temelkoska, Ljubica Licoska, and Mitra Simjanoska. The victims were beaten repeatedly, strangled with a phone cord, raped, and butchered. They were all poor and uneducated cleaners. They all also shared the same profession and were about the same age as Vlado’s mother.
Being a crime reporter, Vlado interviewed the family members of the victims. He was even in the courtroom when four men were being falsely convicted for the death of Zivana Temelkoska. When the crime journalist writes about his own macabre acts, he asks: “What kind of creature could do such an act?”
The police were surprised to discover the articles contained information which was not released to the public. Differing from all other reporters, Vlado knew the killer used a telephone cord to bind the victims.
The investigators decided to create a profile of the serial killer. They also had the DNA sample, since traces of semen were found at the crime scenes. Out of 8000 men who lived in Kičevo, Vlado became one of the 10 persons of interest.
When police made the statement that they had captured the serial killer, Vlado ran to the police station to write another story but was instead arrested. The next day, Taneski was found dead in his prison cell. Apparently he had drowned in a bucket of water; police said his death was a suicide. While most of the Macedonians do believe he was the journalist who wrote about his own murders, they doubt the suicide theory.
Working as a journalist, Vlado Taneski committed ultimate betrayal of trust, just like Dr. Harold Shipman, who killed his elderly patients.
The case is somewhat similar to a Polish writer Krystian Bala, who committed the murder of a Polish small business owner Dariusz Janiszewski. Sensationally, clues to the killing were found in Bala’s first novel Amok, published several years after the murder, which resulted in increased sales of the novel as readers looked for more clues in the book.
Also Dutch writer Richard Klinkhamer, whose manuscript about killing his wife was never published.