Vera Kisliak made what appears to be a fateful decision a few weeks before her murder: she allowed her estranged husband, who had tormented and threatened her for months, to move back into her house.
Buffalo Grove police stormed the Kisliaks’ million-dollar home in the 2800 block of Acacia Terrace on Wednesday, finding a “horrific” crime scene: Vera Kisliak, her husband, Andrei Kisliak, their daughters, ages 6 and 4, and her husband’s 67-year-old mother all dead of “sharp force trauma” injuries.
Since a brief press conference on Thursday, police have released little information, but Lake County court records reveal a pattern of increasingly erratic, menacing behavior by Andrei Kisliak dating back to at least July, when the couple began highly contentious divorce proceedings. Among other things, his wife told the court that her husband brought home prostitutes, heavily used drugs, followed her as she drove their children to school, stole her car, and threatened to kill her “and disfigure her in a way that no one will recognize her.”
The couple then asked a judge on Nov. 1 to modify a protective order that had barred Andrei Kisliak from the house and from seeing their children without supervision, allowing him to move back in.
Judge Marnie Slavin, who jailed Andrei Kisliak for contempt in September for repeatedly disrupting a hearing with profane outbursts, apparently had concerns as well. “The court strongly advised against this arrangement but the parties wish to proceed by agreement.” a handwritten note scrawled on the order reads.
Vera Kisliak stated in court documents that prior to filing for divorce, her husband began abusing drugs, smoking marijuana daily and using cocaine, bringing prostitutes to the house, and blasting music late at night. In August, he refused to give his wife the keys to any of the couple’s four BMW vehicles so she could drop their daughters off at school, and he refused to drive them himself. According to court records, when Vera Kisliak was able to get a neighbor to drive them, she claimed her husband followed them, “recording them, berating them, and yelling at them to take the Uber,”
Records show that after being ordered by the court in September to give his wife keys to a BMW sedan, Andrei Kisliak left her with a broken key. When started, the car ran for a few seconds before stopping. Vera Kisliak filed a motion two weeks later to gain sole custody of the house and the children.
“(Andrei) is an unstable man who is capable of anything,” her lawyer wrote, later adding that Andrei told Vera that if she did not stop filing pleadings in Court, he would “that if she does not stop filing pleadings in Court, he will kill and disfigure her to a way that no one will recognize her.” Andrei stated that after murdering his wife, he planned to murder her family in Belarus and her sister in Poland. The order was issued on August 30. He was arrested a month later for going to the house.
Olga Lysenko, 60, a realtor who worked with Andrei Kisliak, said she found out about the divorce when Andrei called her to bail him out of jail in September. After Andrei was barred from the house, Lyskenko and her husband, who dined with the Kisliaks a few times a year, would drive his daughters to visits.
Andrei Kisliak was born in Belarus, met Vera through friends, and visited her a half dozen times before they married in Minsk, according to Lysenko.
“She was a beautiful girl… with long legs like a model,” Lysenko said. Andrei Kisliak, a tennis coach, was athletic and handsome, according to Lysenko, who believes his mugshot in the news does not do him justice.
“They were a beautiful couple, and seemed so happy,” she said. “He was so in love.”
This fall, Andrei Kisliak painted a rosy picture of the divorce proceedings for the Lysenkos, claiming the couple would go to counseling and reconcile. Andrei was especially upbeat after his mother, Lilia Kisliak, moved in late September to help care for the children.
According to court records, Andrei Kisliak, acting as his own attorney, filed a motion to withdraw the divorce filing on Oct. 5. The day before, the order of protection barring him from entering the house or contacting his wife had been extended to Oct. 25, and then again.
However, on November 1, the judge granted Andrei Kisliak’s request to withdraw his petition to dissolve the marriage, allowing the divorce to proceed under Vera’s counter-petition. The same order allowed him to re-enter the house. He had to show proof that he was applying for three jobs per month, reimburse his wife for her expenses, and give her the title to one of their vehicles. The couple was supposed to sleep in separate bedrooms.
The couple was also having financial difficulties. According to court filings, Andrei Kisliak, who Lysenko said typically worked two or three jobs at once, had stopped working and had been ordered to sell dozens of high-end refrigerators he had refurbished to pay bills. According to court records, the day before the bodies were discovered, a hearing was held to discuss the sale of the Acacia Terrace house, which had gone into foreclosure. The attendance of Andrei Kisliak, who was acting as his own attorney after his first two lawyers withdrew from the case, is unclear from court records.
Lysenko had no idea the Kisliaks’ home, which they had purchased a few years after their wedding in Minsk, was in foreclosure. Lysenko claimed that Andrei Kisliak had spent a fortune remodeling the house and had worked multiple jobs to pay for it.
“It was a dream house for both of them,” Lysenko explained. “Who would buy it now?”