A Shakopee man admitted to police that he “most likely” killed his girlfriend in the home they shared and tried to clean up the crime scene before fleeing, according to the murder charge filed Wednesday.
Sergey N. Balandin, 31, was charged with second-degree murder in Scott County District Court in connection with the death of 34-year-old Ruzana Yedvabnik at the home in the 1400 block of Savanna Drive.
Balandin was arrested after a brief standoff with police near his home Monday and remains jailed ahead of a court appearance Thursday.
Yedvabnik’s body was badly bruised and bloody and was “unrecognizable,” the criminal complaint against Balandin read. Police found a bloody knife on the ground near where Balandin was apprehended. They also recovered a bag with a bloody broken cable and a second knife, the charging document continued.
Police officers found the woman in the couple’s bedroom behind a locked door, said Chief Jeff Tate. She died either late Sunday or Monday morning, according to authorities.
The woman’s mother also lived in the home, Tate said. “She thought her daughter was sleeping,” he said.
The mother told police she heard a heated and violent argument between Yedvabnik and Balandin the night before the woman’s body was found, the complaint continued.
Yedvabnik is the third woman killed in an act of domestic violence in the Twin Cities since last Thursday, the other two involving murder-suicides in homes in south Minneapolis and northeast Minneapolis.
“We are navigating so much grief due to domestic violence,” said Liz Richards, executive director of the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women. “Minnesota has lost 18 of our friends, neighbors and co-workers so far this year due to domestic violence.”
In a jailhouse interview detailed in the complaint against Balandin, he said he “blacked out” the night before, had “no idea” what happened to Yedvabnik but “most likely, probably” killed her. He also admitted that he tried to remove the blood off the floor with household cleaners.
Jacqueline Lutgen, a family friend of about 20 years, said that two weeks ago Yedvabnik sought help finding a new apartment for her and her mother because Balandin was kicking them out.
Yedvabnik told Lutgen that her boyfriend of about three years was having an affair and they were arguing. People knew they fought, but no one knew whether he was violent toward her, Lutgen said.
“I never heard anything bad and everything seemed fine,” she said. “She never let on about the guy abusing her.”
Stacie Glapion, from New Orleans, said Tuesday evening that she and Yedvabnik were high school friends.
Glapion said Yedvabnik, originally from Ukraine, immigrated to the United States in the early 1990s. She first moved to New York with her mother, then to Eden Prairie, where she attended Eden Prairie High School.
Yedvabnik has a 9-year-old daughter who lives with her dad, Glapion said.
Yedvabnik rarely brought up her relationship with her boyfriend, but when she did, it was hardly positive.
“She was pretty quiet about those things,” Glapion said. “She mentioned issues he had in the past, but never said anything about him hurting her or anything like that.”
Friends said Yedvabnik had a contagious personality and was outgoing, funny, lovable, caring and a hard worker.
“She was like a sister to me,” Glapion said. “She was so strong. She went through a lot in her life. This is just so sad.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses.
Liza Dmitruk said that she and Balandin were married for about six years until 2014 and have two sons, now ages 9 and 5.
Court records in the divorce revealed that Dmitruk wanted Balandin’s visitation time with the boys supervised because “he will try to take the kids away to another state so I will never see them.”
Balandin’s criminal history in Minnesota includes a charge in 2014 of felony domestic assault that resulted in a conviction for misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Also, a restraining order was taken out in Scott County against Balandin in 2005 by a Hopkins woman, who said he was harassing her.