Netanya police arrested two women suspected of brutally abusing a 20-year-old woman for several years, police said Sunday.
The two women, the victim's mother and grandmother, aged 40 and 75, were arrested on Saturday night on suspicions that they locked up the young woman with the intention of starving her to death.
One of the neighbors reported last week hearing cries for help from one of the apartments in the building, according to sources from Welfare Services in Netanya.
Two social workers arrived at the apartment, but the mother and grandmother refused them entry. In the end, the mother and grandmother opened the door and physically attacked the social workers.
At that point, the two social workers decided to file a complaint with the police and requested a police escort to the apartment. Police arrived at the apartment on Thursday and reported that the place was derelict and that it emitted a horrible stench, but they were unable to find the source of the cries for help that had been reported.
A neighbor complained to the police again on Saturday that they heard "horrible screams" coming from the apartment. Police that arrived on the scene could not find the source of the screams. The police contacted one of the social workers, who decided to come to the apartment. The police and the social worker entered the apartment again, and when they were physically attacked by the mother and grandmother, they arrested the two.
The social worker then scoured the apartment and discovered the young girl in one of the closets, terror-stricken and in tears. At first the young woman refused to speak with the social worker or allow her to approach, and said that she could only trust her aunt.
The mother and grandmother allegedly prevented the young woman from leaving the apartment or from having contact with strangers, according to the initial police investigation. In addition, they did not let her use a toilet, and would pass containers into her room so that she could relieve herself.
The police also suspect that the two women tried to starve the young woman and denied her access to food. Apparently, they served her only bread and water, so that she would not completely starve to death. When the young woman was found by police, she weighed only 37 kilograms.
The social worker sat with the young woman for a long period of time and eventually convinced her to file a complaint against her mother and grandmother. "The young woman was in a horrible state, neglected," welfare workers said. The family was known to social services, but in the last few years they had moved from one city to another, which made it difficult to follow up on them.
The police arrested the mother and grandmother and they will be remanded in a Netanya court. The young woman was taken by representatives of social services for medical care, and from there she will be taken to an institution for rehabilitation.
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