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Man comes back from the dead after deserting the army 11 years ago

By The Siberian Times reporter
01 December 2015

Listed as killed, he was found living rough in the forest, but now his own family refuse to believe it's really him.

Leonid Durkin, 30, had been living in a shack he build himself. Picture: NTV

Police detained Leonid Durkin, 30, on the Kamchatka peninsula in the Far East of Russia, after he had been living in a shack he build himself. He served in the army for one year before vanishing.

'He lived in Kamchatka all this time, mainly hiding in the forest,' said a source in the regional branch of the Interior Ministry. 'He got by with odd jobs and did not attempt to get in touch with his family.'

From Taganrog, in the Rostov region of southern Russia, his father Alexander - who died last year not known his son was alive - erroneously identified a corpse as being his, and he was registered as dead. 

His shocked stepsister Yelena said: 'I don't know who they found. I have his death certificate. Let them now prove - that it is really Leonid.' After he disappeared 'we received a call from his military unit. 

Deserters hut


Deserters hut

'He lived in Kamchatka all this time, mainly hiding in the forest. He got by with odd jobs and did not attempt to get in touch with his family.' Pictures: NTV

'They said that he was hit on the head, thrown in a forest plantation where he froze to death. And then the body was found. His father - my stepfather - recognised him by his photograph. We received a picture of his dead body and he said it was Leonid. He was buried in Vilyuchinsk.'

In fact he was living on the outskirts of regional capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. He survived by picking berries and fishing for salmon. He also worked in an unofficial job on a pig farm and collected scrap metal. 

Apart from Yelena, his close family died during the period he had disappeared. 

'Let him prove first that he is Leonid,' she said. 'All the property I inherited - it's all mine. He has nothing to do with this property. He did not live with us almost from the beginning, when our parents came together, almost never lived.'

Map


Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

In fact he was living on the outskirts of regional capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Pictures: The Siberian Times, Andrey Nagorniy

Durkin could face up to seven years in jail for desertion. 

Valentina Melnikova, the head of Russia's Committee of Soldiers' Mothers, said she doubted the soldier would serve time in jail.

'There were lots of deserters in those days in the Far East. We've had cases when some would hide in a basement for years, but they would go through a psychiatric examination and would be set free.'

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Comments (1)

This same thing happened in Nortwest Alaska in September near Cape Lisbourne: http://www.adn.com/article/20150918/feds-investigate-reported-slaughter-cape-lisburne-walruses
Steve M, Fairbanks, AK USA
04/12/2015 23:45
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