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Originally published June 21, 2013 at 10:28 AM | Page modified June 21, 2013 at 9:35 PM

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‘I kill people’: Ex charged in Bellevue woman’s brutal death

Aleksandr Polak is accused of stabbing Nataliya Vabishchevich 72 times in her Bellevue apartment on Monday.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Another domestic violence case. An ex-husband mad about what?-the ex-wife living h... MORE
Wow...72 times? Really? If he did that he should definitely get the DP. MORE
Hang him. MORE

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After their marriage ended in divorce about seven years ago, Aleksandr Polak threatened to kill Nataliya Vabishchevich, his ex-wife, according the King County Prosecutor’s Office.

According to charging documents filed Friday, one of Vabishchevich’s friends said she remembered a particular occasion when she had been baby-sitting the couple’s son, who lived with Vabishchevich. The friend said Polak came to the apartment looking to reconcile with his ex-wife. If Vabishchevich wouldn’t take him back, he said he would kill her, the friend said.

“I kill people,” the friend said he threatened. “I hurt people, and don’t mess with me.”

On Monday, prosecutors say, Polak, 46, followed through on his threat, in a “vicious and brutal” attack.

According to the prosecutor’s office, Polak stabbed Vabishchevich, 35, repeatedly with a knife in the head, neck, hands, arms and chest — 72 times in all — in her Bellevue apartment while their teenage son was at school.

Polak was arrested and charged with first-degree murder Thursday while getting off a bus in Los Angeles. Authorities say he was fleeing to Mexico. Because he is considered a risk to leave the country, prosecutors are requesting bail be denied.

Vabishchevich was found by a co-worker who went to check on her when she didn’t show up to work Monday. The co-worker arrived at Vabishchevich’s apartment around noon, and when she opened the door, she found her body in a bloody black bathrobe and called police.

Vabishchevich’s 14-year-old son said his mother had been alive when he got on the school bus around 7:15 that morning.

He told detectives his parents had argued regularly but said he’d never seen a physical confrontation. He said he hadn’t spoken to his father in the past two years and believed he was still living in Latvia, where he is from.

Polak had threatened Vabishchevich, and she was afraid of him, their son said. In recent months, when she heard her ex-husband might be in Bellevue, Vabishchevich warned her son to avoid him, as she was concerned Polak might kidnap him and take him back to Latvia.

Detectives found Polak on Thursday night as he was visiting his mother and nephew at their Hidden Creek apartment in Bellevue, and he agreed to go to the police station with them for an interview.

Traveling in the car Polak said he had borrowed from a friend, officers noted carpet stains and at least one small black-colored tuft of material on the driver’s side floor.

Polak told police he woke up at 6 a.m. Monday and drove to Richmond Beach Saltwater Park for a swim to help his asthma. After a few hours at the park, he said, he returned to his Edmonds apartment around 9 a.m. Polak said he stayed there for an hour before driving to another park in Edmonds, back to the Richmond park, and then back home around noon. He said he had spent the day alone.

Polak said a half-inch cut on his left pinkie finger happened while he was cutting an avocado that morning, and a scratch on the back of his neck must have come from a recent haircut. He said that a brown stain on his shirt was related to his cut finger. He provided a DNA sample to detectives and asked them how long the sentence was for murder and when they would be arresting him, according to the charging papers.

Polak gave the detectives written permission to search his residence, where they found a small towel in the washing machine with “reddish stains” on it. Results of a forensic examination of the car Polak was driving turned up black fibers and blood.

After the interview, detectives followed him to the bus station, where he bought a ticket for San Diego on a bus leaving the next morning. A detective boarded the same bus. In interviews with police later, passengers said Polak had asked the best way to get from San Diego to Mexico. Bellevue and Los Angeles Police Department officers and U.S. Marshals arrested Polak on Thursday in Los Angeles. He had $5,000 hidden in his baseball cap, according to the charging papers.

Polak is being held in Los Angeles pending extradition by California authorities.

Colin Campbell: 206-464-2033 or ccampbell@seattletimes.com

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