The skeleton of an ‘aspiring magician’ who wants to be like Harry Houdini has been found tied up in a forest with five handcuffs – two years after he went missing.
A search for Ivan Klyucharev, 30, failed to locate the hiker and adventurer but his remains have now been found in the Shatura district, near Moscow.
Cops say their “main version” is that the survival skills fanatic tried to recreate an escape trick but it went wrong and he died in the remote location after leaving on a trip in May 2017, according to media reports.
But they are also examining evidence that he was into bizarre sexual practices and could have died filming a BDSM experiment.
Another line of enquiry is that Klyucharev, a courier, was murdered, and the crime scene was set up to look like he had killed himself in a bizarre accident.
His remains were found in a lying position and he was handcuffed to a chain which was secured around a tree.
Close to his skeleton was the solo hiker’s tent and a camera pointed at himself.
Five sets of handcuffs were found at the scene along with padlocks and chains
At the scene were five sets of handcuffs, three metal chains, six padlocks and a book on knots.
Police are now examining the camera’s memory card and his computer where reports say there is evidence of his interest in BDSM sex.
Some reports say that only his left hand was handcuffed to a chain attached to a tree.
“Detectives suppose that the man could have tied himself to the tree and have hurt himself too,” reported Moskovsky Komsomolets, citing evidence that the death may have had a sexual motive.
“But this is just one of several versions.”
A “scared” local man Eduard Karpov came across the gruesome sight while out walking, spotting Klyucharev’s skull, still “wearing a hoodie”.
The rest of his skeleton was covered in leaves.
The Russian Investigative Committee said: “He was on the list of missing persons.
“It has been established that the man was a member of a community that practicing survival skills in extreme conditions.
“Forensic analysis has been ordered to establish the exact cause of death.”
Ivan Klyucharev could have been trying out some bizarre sex game
Committee official Olga Vradiy said: “Detailed checks are underway aimed at establishing all the circumstances.
“The opinion of forensic experts has been requested in order to understand the true reason for the man’s death.”
Klyucharev had earlier hitchhiked across Russia and often went on walking trips to remote spots.
His friends want police to examine whether he was murdered with the crime scene made to look as if he had killed himself or died in a bizarre accident.
But one said: “I can easily imagine that he went to the forest and decided to try his luck this way by chaining himself and throwing away the keys.”
The forest where he was found had been earlier searched several times in vain.
Some reports say he died up to a year after leaving on his final trip in May 2017 but it is unclear how this is known before detailed forensic analysis has been completed.