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Suspect arraigned in Charles Butler case

May 26, 2013 3:22:57 PM PDT
Seconds before stepping in front of a judge, Mikhail Chernyaev seemed to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders.

The 46-year-old from Brighton Beach is the key suspect in brutal murder of businessman Charles Butler, who moved to New York to start a new life with his new girlfriend.

The prosecutor said that the defendant stabbed the victim in the back, strangled him, and drove him to the Delaware Water Gap, where he disposed of the victim's body.

Authorities say during the gruesome attack, Chernyaev sat on Butler and after making the roughly 90 mile drive west, got rid of the victim's ID and then dumped his body in the river.

The thing that ties these two men together is that Butler's girlfriend was also Chernyaev's ex-girlfriend, and is the mother of his son.

The arrest comes just five days after Eyewitness News' investigation into the mysterious disappearance of Butler.

His daughter insisted all along that this was more than a missing person's case, and pleaded with the NYPD to move in on the man with the motive and the means.

On Saturday, they did just that.

Hoffer: "Were you and Charles happy?"

Anna Lioznov: "Yes, we cared about each other."

Hoffer: "What did the future hold?"

Anna: "He told me he wanted to be with me . He said I love you and want to be with me, and the next day he disappears."

Butler disappeared from his girlfriend's apartment last September never to be seen again. Just five days ago on Eyewitness News, the girlfriend told us that she had been questioned at length by the NYPD about her former boyfriend, Mikhail Chernyaev who is the father of her son:

Hoffer: "They were asking you about him?"

Anna Lioznov: "Yeah I said talk to him. And they say we will talk to him but first we talk to you and they ask me one hour about him, his family his children about everything they need to know."

On Saturday evening, the 46-year-old Mikhail Chernyaev of Brighton Beach Brooklyn was arrested and charged with second degree murder in the death of Charles Butler.

Molly Butler: "They can't find his cell phone , they can't find a body nothing."

Earlier in May, when Eyewitness News spoke with Charles Butler's daughter, she had no idea that her father's body had been found in October in Port Jervis.

The NYPD is only saying that his body was later identified, but that must have happened in the last few days since the daughter was just notified he had been found.

Meanwhile, earlier this week Eyewitness News asked Butler's girlfriend if she thought her former boyfriend had anything to do with Charles Butler's disappearance:

Hoffer: "Your former boyfriend said what he never?"

Anna: "He never even met him."

Hoffer: "Charles?"

Anna: "Yeah, he doesn't know where he went."

Hoffer: "Was he ever interviewed by police?"

Anna: "He didn't tell me but this I now know."

Hoffer: "So, you don't think so."

Anna: "I don't think so."

Jim Hoffer spoke with Anna Lioznov, and asked her if she thought her ex had anything to do with the death of Charles Butler.

Her response was, "I have no idea."

Lioznov did say that he had been in the custody of the NYPD for two days. He is expected to be arraigned Sunday or Monday on murder charges.

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