A daughter’s refusal to give up on finding her father has led to an arrest in the missing man’s murder.
Last September, Florida businessman Charles Butler disappeared after spending time at his girlfriend’s Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment. Butler was excited to be back in New York, his hometown, to be closer to his daughter, Molly, and his new love, Anna Lioznov, who Charles Butler met on the Internet months earlier.
“Somebody doesn’t just disappear,” Molly Butler told WABC-TV in an interview this month. “They can’t find his cellphone; they can’t find a body. Nothing.”
After Molly reported her father missing, detectives brought Lioznov in for questioning twice, WABC reports, and they had questions about Mikhail Chernyaev, Lioznov’s former boyfriend, with whom she has a son.
In an exclusive interview with the station, Molly Butler said that it was clear to the family that harm came to her father, but, because there was no evidence of foul play, the NYPD categorized Charles Butler’s disappearance as a missing person’s case.
But Charles Butler’s body had been found in October in Port Jervis, N.Y., a detail Molly Butler only learned during her sitdown with WABC last week.
A video camera recorded Charles Butler and Lioznov entering the apartment that September night; footage shows Anna left the next morning, but there's no video of Charles leaving. It's possible he left through a back exit, where the security camera is broken, according to the station.
Just five days after WABC aired the story, police questioned Chernyaev, and arrested him in the murder of Charles Butler.
During the arraignment, the station reported, the prosecutor said Chernyaev, 46, stabbed Butler in the back, strangled him, and then drove him to the Delaware Water Gap, where he disposed of the body.
According to WABC, authorities say during the attack, Chernyaev sat on Butler and, after making the 90-mile drive west, disposed of the victim's ID. Then, they allege, he dumped Butler’s body in the river.