Friend: Grandfather Said Rose Pizem Was at French Summer Camp

Ronny Ron and Marie Pizem continued to tell people that their daughter, Rose Pizem, was "away," months after she was allegedly killed by Ron, several witnesses told the Petah Tikva District Court yesterday, the second day of their trial.

According to the prosecution, 4-year-old Rose Pizem was murdered by Ron on May 12, 2008, after which he dumped her body in the Yarkon River in Tel Aviv. Ron was Rose's biological grandfather, but became her stepfather after developing a relationship with his son's wife and Rose's mother, Marie-Charlotte Pizem. Marie is suspected of helping to plan the murder and then to conceal it afterward.

One friend of the family told the court that in July 2008, he asked Ron where the child was. "He told me she was away at a French summer camp that had cost him NIS 900, and that it was a decent price," the witness said. "He told me they take her in the morning and bring her home in the afternoon."

Marie Pizem's lawyer, Revital Swid, challenged the witness's assertion that her client took part in this conversation by questioning whether Pizem's knowledge of Hebrew was sufficient at the time. Swid quoted the witness's earlier statement that although Marie had been present, her knowledge of the language appeared limited.

The prosecution countered that Marie's knowledge of Hebrew is greater than she admits. The first policeman who came to the couple's home to search for Rose was questioned by Swid and told the court, "She understands Hebrew better than you think. She understood me and spoke Hebrew."

Another friend of the family, Naor Ben Efraim, told the court that when he questioned Ron about Rose's whereabouts, Ron said she was in a French boarding school, for which he paid $1,500 a month. Ben Efraim also testified that Marie Pizem spoke Hebrew.

The couple's babysitter said she was told that Rose was staying with Ron's mother. She also said when she was employed by Ron and Pizem, communicating with Marie was "tongue twisting," but a face-to-face confrontation with Marie during the subsequent police investigation led her to believe the accused "spoke Hebrew really well." She noted that the entire confrontation was in Hebrew.