msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 4/19/2011 2:54:37 PM ET 2011-04-19T18:54:37

A Russian man wanted in connection with the murders of a woman and her adult daughter in New York City was an elite soldier who served in Afghanistan, according to a report Tuesday.

The New York Daily News said that Nikolai Rakossi, 56, was thought by authorities to have already been on a flight to Moscow Sunday when the bodies of Tatyana Prikhodko, also 56, and her daughter Larisa, 27, were found in an apartment in Brooklyn.

Both victims worked as nurses. Rakossi has been identified as the mother's companion.

Citing police sources, the Daily News said it was believed Larisa was murdered when she walked in on the scene of her mother's death. The elder Prikhodko shared the apartment with Rakossi.

The women were stabbed multiple times in the face, neck and torso. Two knifes believed to have been used in the assault were recovered, police said.  

The newspaper quoted a police source as saying that the women's killer had "cut them up pretty bad" and "the apartment was a bloody mess, a lot of cuts and signs of a big struggle."

'Very calm and powerful'
It described Rakossi as a Russian "Rambo."

"As far as soldiers go, he was the elite of the elite," a friend, Rustam Zaripon, the manager of the Russian Baths in Brooklyn, told the Daily News.

"He's a very calm and powerful man," Zaripon added. "He served tours in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Africa."

Zaripon also told the paper that Rakossi had a home near Moscow.

A security camera showed Rakossi leaving the building at about 9:30 a.m. Sunday, police said.

Police spokesman Paul Browne said investigators believe the suspect went directly to Kennedy Airport with a one-way ticket to Moscow. His Aeroflot flight departed at 7 p.m. and arrived in Russia at 12:30 p.m. Monday.

The NYPD and the State Department were working with Russian authorities to determine Rakossi's whereabouts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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