The naked body of Ekaterina Antontseva, 34, a biochemist at the St. Petersburg Technological Institute, was found by her boyfriend, a construction entrepreneur, when he returned from a business trip, The Sun reported.
Authorities said she was apparently strangled last week.
The suspect — an avid computer gamer identified only as Artyom, 36 – has been detained on suspicion of murder, according to the news outlet.
He is suspected of using Antontseva’s thumb print to access her cell phone to send since-deleted messages saying she was sick and unable to go to work.
Investigators believe he may have owed Antontseva money – leading to an argument about repaying it, The Sun reported.
After she was killed, gaps in the windows and doors inside her apartment were reportedly sealed to prevent a stench from being detected by her neighbors.
“We all grieve very much. She was a very good person, very sympathetic,” said Dr. Mark Shamtsyan, head of the microbiological synthesis at the institute, the outlet reported, citing pdmnews.ru.
“We all loved and respected her, and now it’s hard to talk about it. This is all unexpected for us,”he added. “She… loved her work, she liked working with students. She was a good researcher and teacher.”
Shamtsyan said Antontseva’s’ co-workers began looking for her when she didn’t show up for work.
“And on the weekend we received information from the investigating authorities,” he said.