Many observers have jumped to conclusions about the religious nature of the double murder that may have looked like a ritual killing. Others consider it to be the result of purely social problems suffered by the family or the woman’s mental disorder.
One psychologist approached by ArmeniaNow, however, blamed local government officials in charge of women’s and children’s rights for inappropriate attention and failing to prevent the heinous crime.
On September 6, Roza Aloyan hanged her two sons aged 6 and 4 in the kitchen of her apartment in Ararat, a small industrial town about 40 kilometers northwest of Armenian capital Yerevan with a population of about 20,000.
After hanging her kids to death, the 34-year-old woman took their bodies and placed them on a bed and then left. She also had left in the room a children’s Bible opened on the page of “Jesus Christ Blesses the Children”.
Aloyan, who is now under arrest, told police that at first she tried to suffocate her younger son, but the eldest son would hamper her, that’s why she hanged the eldest son first. According to the investigator, “she had managed to convince the children that this was the right thing, some 10 minutes later the kids died, but they remained hanged for about two hours.”
“One of our elderly neighbors saw her that day at about 11:00 am with her two kids. She was going to the shop where she bought some grapes, in fact after that she hanged her children. They were so good, so smart,” Aloyan’s neighbor who lives in building N65 in the town’s Shahumyan Street and asked not to be named said.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office statement, Roza Aloyan grew up in an orphanage, as in 1989, when she was only 12, her stepfather, Hakob Tadevosyan, axed her mother to death.
“Well, we’ve heard that story before. They say that he killed his wife in front of the four children, that’s why the kids had problems. But none of the neighbors ever noticed any disorders with her,” Ararat mayor Abraham Babayan told ArmeniaNow.
Together with two sisters and one brother Roza Aloyan grew up in the Gavar orphanage. Later her brother got into prison where he committed suicide. Graduating from the Erebuni Medical College Aloyan became a qualified nurse and then got an apartment from the state in the town of Ararat.
Her neighbors say that after her divorce her ex-husband tried to take the children, but she did not allow him to do so.
“I wish they were taken. They did not quarrel. I didn’t see myself that he wanted to take them, but recently she was saying that she did not allow her ex-husband to approach the kids, even turned to police on that account. If only police at that moment understood everything and took the kids from away her,” another resident of a nearby building in Ararat, who, too, wished to remain anonymous, told ArmeniaNow.
Yet another neighbor approached by ArmeniaNow told about how reticent and indifferent to her children Aloyan became in recent months.
“You know, she has never been too warm. That’s why we did not find it strange that she would not respond to our greetings. But many also noticed that in the recent period her kids would go out in dirty clothes, would spend hours outdoors, or would stay home alone. She did not work, but was always out,” a neighbor who introduced herself only as Varduhi told ArmeniaNow.
According to the police statement, in the past few years Roza Aloyan was a member of theJehovah’s Witnesses religious organization, but later the organization denied this information, saying that they never had a member with that name.
Investigators of the Ararat Province’s Prosecutor’s Office who examined Aloyan’s apartment said they had found quite a lot of sectarian literature there. “But at this moment I cannot say what literature that is and what religious organization it belongs to, it is for specialists to clarify,” says investigator Hakobyan.
“Maternity Foundation” NGO psychologist Anna Badalyan says that orphanage children, especially this woman who had such a difficult childhood, should remain the focus of attention.
“Had they done proper work, employees of the Department of Women’s and Children’s rights at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs would perhaps have been able to prevent this horrendous murder,” Badalyan told ArmeniaNow.
However, at the Ararat provincial administration officials say Aloyan was never registered either with a psychiatrist or a narcologist and there were no suspicions regarding her mental health.
“Ararat Hospital” Medical Center doctors do not remember Aloyan either. The hospital’s director Araik Sardaryan says, referring to the official register, that only on one occasion, in 2009, the woman turned to the establishment with an insomnia complaint.
“Doctors referred Aloyan to a neurologist, but she did not consult the doctor eventually. And under the circumstances we could not force her to do so, as it was up to her. As far as I know she also refused to have her children vaccinated,” Sardaryan told ArmeniaNow.