On March 17 and 18, 1987, several students and employees of school No. 16 of the Podolsk district of Kiev were hospitalized in serious condition. Two children and two adults died almost immediately, the remaining 9 people were in intensive care. Since the symptoms were controversial, at first doctors suspected an intestinal infection or food poisoning, but they were alarmed that some time later, the victims began to lose hair. As it was uncommon for such diseases.
A criminal case was opened on the facts of poisoning and death. The investigation, having questioned the surviving victims, established that all the victims had visited the canteen on the eve of the illness. When the question arose whether the quality of food in the school cafeteria was monitored by anyone, it turned out that the nurse-nutritionist Natalya Kukharenko in charge of this had died two weeks before the events described - from cardiovascular disease. Investigators did not believe in such coincidences and decided to exhume her body. As a result of relevant studies, traces of thallium were found in the tissues of Kukharenko's corpse. After that, searches were carried out in all persons related to the school canteen, including the house where Tamara Ivanyutina lived, who worked as a dishwasher in the school canteen.
During a search of Ivanyutina's house, some kind of "small but very heavy jar" was found, which aroused the interest of operatives and investigators, and therefore seized and given for examination. Laboratory research showed that the jar contains "Clerici fluid", a highly toxic thallium-based solution used in several branches of geology.
Ivanyutina was arrested and initially wrote a confession, confessing to the poisoning in the school cafeteria, and her motive was her dislike of noisy schoolchildren and selected colleagues. Later she retracted her words.
Further investigation showed that the Ivanyutin family had been using thallium for poisoning for 11 years (that is, since 1976); moreover, the poisoning was committed both for selfish purposes and in relation to people who simply for some reason did not like them. Poisoners bought the Clerici liquid from a friend who worked at a geological institute, explaining to her that poison is necessary to kill rats.
Tamara Ivanyutina was born into a large family (there were six children in the family), and since childhood, parents have always inspired children that the main thing in life is material security. And the fastest way to get rich is to marry a rich man and ... become a widow. At the beginning of her criminal activities, Ivanyutina poisoned her first husband in order to get his apartment. After his death, Ivanyutina married a second time, but in a new marriage she poisoned her father-in-law and mother-in-law and poisoned her second husband with small portions of poison. The goal was to take possession of a house with a land plot that belonged to her husband's parents.
In September 1986, Ivanyutina got a job as a dishwasher in a school. During her work, in addition to the victims mentioned above, Ivanyutina poisoned the school party organizer (died) and the chemistry teacher (survived), who prevented her from stealing food from the canteen, as well as two students of the first and fifth grades (survived) - they asked Ivanyutina for the rest of the cutlets for your pets.
The gas chambers and other members of her family did not lag behind. Ivanyutina's older sister, Nina Matsibor, using the same Clerici liquid, poisoned her husband and took possession of his Kiev apartment. Ivanyutina's parents, Maslenko's wife, also committed numerous poisonings: in particular, a neighbor in a communal apartment and a relative who reprimanded the spouses were killed by them. Also, family members poisoned the neighbors' pets.
In total, 40 episodes of poisoning committed by this family have been proven, of which 13 were fatal. At the same time, 9 lethal poisonings and 20 attempted murders were committed personally by Tamara Ivanyutina. Although the forensic psychiatric examination recognized Ivanyutina as sane, she noted such features of her psyche as increased self-esteem, vindictiveness, and resentment. During the trial, the woman refused to admit her guilt and to repent of what she had done, explaining at the trial that she had “the wrong upbringing”.
Ivanyutina was sentenced to death - by shooting. Her accomplices were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment: sister Nina - to 15 years, and father and mother - to 10 and 13 years, respectively.
The strangeness of the case also lies in the fact that the main defendant was one of three women sentenced to death in the USSR after the war. Prior to that, only the underground millionaire Berta Borodkina and the Nazi accomplice Antonina Makarova (Tonka machine gunner) were assigned the highest measure.