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The pathologist testifying at the trial for the murder of 4-year-old Rose Pizem said yesterday the child was already dead when she was placed in a suitcase and thrown into the Yarkon River.

The statements made by Dr. Chen Kugel, testifying for Rose's grandfather Ronny Ron, accused of the murder, could counteract Ron's confession to police at one point during his interrogation - that Rose was alive when he threw the suitcase into the water. However, this will not be enough to drop the murder charge.

Rose's mother, Marie-Charlotte Renault, and Ron, who is also her partner, stand accused of murdering Pizem in 2008.

Kugel based his conclusion on the fact that the clothing found in the suitcase with the body was folded, lacking signs of the struggle drowning victims display at the beginning of their ordeal. Even if she were unconscious, he said, there would have been convulsions.