RSF staff investigated the murder of Levin and the soldier who accompanied him, Alexei Chernyshov, from May 24 to June 3. They arrived at the site where the bodies had been found on April 1. Levin's charred Ford Maverick was parked there; the journalists found Chernyshov's ID card inside the car. The car itself had been shot at at least 14 times.
According to RSF, it happened on March 13. At the time, Levin and Chernyshov were searching for the journalist's missing drone in a forest occupied by the Russian military. At one point, Levin went deeper into the thicket, while Chernyshov remained in the car. All the while, they were being followed by the Russian military who had spotted them. They killed Levin with one or two shots (to the head and chest). Upon hearing this, Chernyshov got out of the car. The Russian servicemen fired at the car and one of the bullets hit Chernyshov. After that, the military set the car on fire. There is also a possibility that they burned Chernyshov alive.
Not far from the car, traces of the Russian military were found, including food packaging and plastic cutlery, which may still contain traces of DNA. RSF analyzed the evidence they found and photographs from the crime scene. According to the journalists, the evidence clearly indicated that Levin and Chernyshov had been shot. Both may have been interrogated or tortured before their deaths.