The husband of a pregnant mother of two has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of the woman and her baby in their Eden Prairie, Minnesota, home.
Yevgeniy "Eugene" Savenok, 30, is facing a life sentence if convicted in the death of his wife, Lyuba Savenok, 23, and their son, who died minutes after being delivered in an emergency C-section, according to the criminal complaint.
As Lyuba's accused murderer remains in jail ahead of a court hearing on Wednesday, her family issued a statement to Us Weekly.
"It's hard for us to once again hear the details of Lyuba's senseless murder. Her family, friends and loved ones feel deep sadness, loss and anger. It has been especially difficult to learn that her son survived for a small time after the doctors tried to save him. Lyuba was going to name him Ellis," the Katane family said.
"We are assured knowing that we live in a country where justice will be served and we are grateful that the children are both safe and cared for by Lyuba's parents," her brother Aleksandr Katane continued. "As the report states my sister Alisa, 14, escaped the house as Lyuba was murdered so we are relieved to know that she is also safe. Currently the entire family is focused on celebrating Lyuba's life at her funeral and also caring for her two remaining children.
"Lyuba was in a very difficult marriage and no stone will be left unturned as we look for answers. However at this time let's focus on celebrating her life, passions and coming together to set her children up for success."
Police were called to a domestic disturbance at the couple's home on Saturday morning, where they found Lyuba lying on the floor with stab wounds to her chest, shoulder and neck, with a knife sticking out of her chest.
Lyuba, who was 26 weeks pregnant, according to her brother, was pronounced dead at the hospital, where an emergency C-section was performed in attempt to save her unborn child. The little boy lived for several minutes before he died.
Her younger sister, Alisa Katane, was present in the couple's home when Yevgeniy allegedly grabbed a kitchen knife, put his wife in a headlock and held it the weapon to her wife's throat, according to the criminal complaint. Alisa grabbed Lyuba's cellphone and ran outside to call 911.
The teen told police that Yevgeniy put the couple's two kids, Matthew, 4, and Vivienne, 3, in a car and fled the scene, leaving his dying wife locked in the house.
The court documents note Yevgeniy turned himself in a few hours later at United Hospital in Saint Paul, Minnesota, later telling police, "I stabbed my wife."
Authorities had been called to the couple's home a number of times regarding incidents of domestic assault, and Lyuba had previously been issued an order of protection against her husband.
According to the criminal complaint, Yevgeniy told police that he had thought about using a knife to kill his wife the night before her death. He claimed that Lyuba was going to take his children from him, and it was "probably, like, my only way out."
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise funds for Lyuba's funeral and to care for her children. So far, $53,000 has been raised toward the $100,000 goal.
Lyuba's funeral will be held on Saturday, May 21, in Eden Prairie.
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