In a violent ending to a “turbulent” marriage, a 30-year-old father of two fatally stabbed his pregnant wife in their Eden Prairie home before fleeing with their children in an SUV and surrendering hours later at a St. Paul hospital, according to charges filed Tuesday.
Yevgeniy Savenok was charged in Hennepin County District Court with two counts of first-degree murder, one in the death Saturday morning of Lyuba Savenok, 23, and the other in the death moments later of their son, who survived several minutes after being born prematurely during an emergency Caesarean section.
Lyuba Savenok died not long after police were called to a domestic-disturbance call about 10:35 a.m. at her house in the 17000 block of Park Circle.
Officers spoke with the woman’s “frantic and screaming” younger sister and soon found Lyuba Savenok on the floor, the criminal complaint read. She had been stabbed many times in the chest as well as in the shoulder and neck.
The sister said she saw Yevgeniy Savenok put Lyuba Savenok in a headlock from behind and put a knife to her throat as she screamed for her life, the complaint read. The sister ran out of the house and called 911.
Yevgeniy Savenok remains jailed in lieu of $5 million bail ahead of an appearance before a judge on Wednesday.
An order for protection, issued in 2015 by a court in Illinois when the two lived there, was in force at the time of Lyuba Savenok’s death, said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.
Lyuba Savenok’s brother, Aleksandr Katane, said his sister was a loyal wife and a loving mother to her children, Vivienne, 3, and Matthew, 4. She was 26 weeks pregnant at the time of her death, the brother said.
Born in Valga, Estonia, in 1993, Lyuba Savenok grew up in Eden Prairie and Chaska. Katane said his sister enrolled at the University of Minnesota at age 16. Posts on Facebook indicated she was launching a career in real estate.
According to the charges:
About 2½ hours after the stabbing, police were notified that Yevgeniy Savenok had arrived at United Hospital in St. Paul with the two children. He told security guards, “[I] just killed my wife.” He went on to explain that he had been having marital difficulties with his wife of six years and that she had driven him to kill her. Police arrived and arrested him.
Investigators traced a long and “turbulent domestic history” between the two, charges said. Lyuba Savenok had reached out to police several times — in Minnesota and earlier in northern Illinois — regarding “incidents of domestic assault” at the hands of her husband. At one point, the order for protection was issued.
Property records show that Lyuba Savenok bought the home in July 2015. Since then, there had been three calls to the home — an August report of domestic assault, a December call for public assistance and a psychiatric call in February.
Katane issued a statement on behalf of the family following the charges. “It’s hard for us to once again hear the details of Lyuba’s senseless murder. Her family, friends and loved ones feel deep sadness, loss and anger. It has been especially difficult to learn that her son survived for a small time after the doctors tried to save him. Lyuba was going to name him Ellis.
We are assured knowing that we live in a country where justice will be served and we are grateful that the children are both safe and cared for by Lyuba’s parents. As the report states, my sister Alisa, 14, escaped the house as Lyuba was murdered, so we are relieved to know that she is also safe. Currently, the entire family is focused on celebrating Lyuba’s life at her funeral and also caring for her two remaining children.
Lyuba was in a very difficult marriage and no stone will be left unturned as we look for answers. However, at this time let’s focus on celebrating her life, passions and coming together to set her children up for success.”