A Russian woman died of “broken heart” syndrome six months after her husband brutally raped and killed their six-year-old daughter in September.
The body of Veronica, the daughter of Anna Zubko, 27, and Yaroslav Oleinikov, 28, was found hanging from the fence of their house in the city of Rostov-on-Don, in southwestern Russia, with her favorite toy – a rattle – wrapped around her neck. While Oleinikov was yet to stand trial for his alleged crimes, his wife, fell into a deep depression following the death of their daughter, and never came out of it, Mail Online reported.
She also did not go see a doctor for a common cold that she developed in recent months, because her mental state made her indifferent to her physical well-being. It eventually developed into a chest infection and ultimately advanced to pneumonia which proved fatal.
According to Mayo Clinic, “Broken heart syndrome is a temporary heart condition that’s often brought on by stressful situations, such as the death of a loved one. The condition can also be triggered by a serious physical illness or surgery. People with broken heart syndrome may have sudden chest pain or think they’re having a heart attack.”
The syndrome causes the normal pumping function in one area of the heart to be temporarily disrupted, while the “remainder of the heart functions normally or with even more forceful contractions.” The condition, also medically referred to as takotsubo cardiomyopathy, apical ballooning syndrome or stress cardiomyopathy, is treatable. It becomes fatal when there are complications like backup of fluid in lungs, low blood pressure, disruptions in heartbeat, and heart failure.
Zubko, who worked as a cleaner in a local supermarket, was at work when the alleged murder took place. Oleinikov, who was unemployed at the time, was tasked with taking care of Veronica and her younger brother, Ivan. A forensic report on the victim’s body revealed she was repeatedly raped before being eventually strangled to death and hanged.
Following the little girl’s funeral, Zubko was deprived of parental rights and three-year-old Ivan was placed in an orphanage. According to neighbors, the couple had a strained marriage as Oleinikov used to often beat his wife. Despite dealing with financial problems, they decided to have a second child.
“The family had an isolated life. The murdered girl did not attend a kindergarten for some reason and could barely speak. Though I have never seen the parents to be drunk or arguing with each other. They seemed to be a normal family,” one unidentified neighbor said.
The exact date of Zubko’s death was not known. If found guilty, Oleinikov could face up to 20 years in prison.