Alexander Nikolayevich Avdonin, a retired geologist from Sverdlovsk (Ekaterinburg), along with Geli Ryabov, a filmmaker for the MVD (Ministry of Interior Affairs), a fellow geologist Michael Kochurov, and their wives formed an investigation team that over a period of time led them to find nine skeletons in a shallow grave four and half miles from the Four Brothers mine shaft.
Under very secretive conditions Avdonin searched the forest area while Ryabov searched for material from the Archives. One of the books acquired was Sokolov’s book. In it were pictures which provided the clue for their find, a bridge of fresh logs and railway ties laid over a muddy spot. Sokolov learned that on July 18, two days after the executions, a truck left Ekaterinburg and went down the Koptiaki Road. At 4:30 a.m., July 19, this truck got stuck in the mud.
The railway guard at a small guard box where the road crossed the tracks said that men came to him, told him their truck was stuck, and asked for railroad ties to make a bridge across the mud. They made the bridge and the truck left; by 9:00 a.m., it was back in its garage in Ekaterinburg. According to Avdonin, from the woods where the truck got stuck, the garage was half an hour’s drive. The truck would have been there for a maximum of four hours.
Bridge at the Pig's Meadow. Photo taken in 1919 by Investigator Nicholas Sokolov. Sokolov knew that the Reds had built this bridge when their truck got stuck in the mud. He had hundreds of people searching the forest for a fresh grave. Surprisingly, it never struck his or his co-workers minds to look under the bridge.
Geli Ryabov located the son of Yakov Yurovsky, Alexander, a retired Soviet Vice-Admiral. A.Yurovsky gave Ryabov his father’s report originally submitted to the Soviet government describing the execution of the Romanovs and the disposal of their bodies. The report stated that after killing the Romanovs the town’s people very quickly found out where they were buried. Because of that fact, the executioners were then forced to move the corpses, which had only been dumped into a mine shaft in the Four Brothers mine area. “At about 4:30 a.m. on the morning of July 19th,” Yurovsky wrote, “the vehicle got permanently stuck, unable to drive to the mines; all we could do was either bury them or burn them. … We wanted to burn Alexei and Alexandra Fedorovna, but instead of the last with Alexei we burned the freilina (Demidova).
This is a drawing depicts the nine sets of remains found under the Bridge at the Pig's Meadow.
We buried the remains right under the fire, then shoveled clay on the remains, and made another bonfire on the grave, and then scattered the ashes and the embers in order to cover up completely any trace of digging. Meanwhile, a common grave was dug for the rest. At about 7 in the morning, a pit six feet deep and 8 feet square was ready. The bodies put in the hole and all the bodies generally doused with sulfuric acid, both so they couldn’t be recognized and to prevent the stench from them rotting (the hole was not deep). We scattered them with lime, put boards on top, and drove over it several times – no traces remained. The secret was kept – the Whites never found it. ” At the end of his report, Yurovsky wrote the precise location of the grave. That location was the exact spot where Avdonin and Kochurov had bored into the old roadbed and found traces of wood beneath the surface.