Ashkelon Baby Dies of Critical Injuries After Suspected Abuse; Mother Released From Custody

The police investigation revealed that the 10-month old baby had suffered prolonged abuse, and the mother and her partner are suspected of causing her death. Their remand was extended on Monday until the weekend

The building in which the mother and her partner live, in Ashkelon, Israel.
Ilan Assayag

A 10-month-old baby girl from Ashkelon whose mother and her partner were remanded on suspicion of abusing her, died on Wednesday of serious injuries.

The child had been hospitalized on Sunday in critical condition at Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva with a serious head injury, and according to the findings of the police investigation she suffered from ongoing abuse.

Be’er Sheva District Court Judge Gad Gideon ordered the mother, 22, released from detention after determining that there is no reasonable suspicion that she would commit a crime, although she is suspected of abuse and neglect. Earlier the authorities said the woman and partner faced possible charges of manslaughter. On Monday, a court extended the detention of the mother’s partner, Ziad Aabid, by five days.

The Ashkelon Magistrate’s Court ordered the Israel Prison Service to escort the woman to the National Center of Forensic Medicine so she could see her daughter for the last time. The Ashkelon municipality said that they had no previous information about domestic violence or abuse at the baby’s home. They said that the mother had submitted a request for financial assistance in order to place her daughter in day care – and the request was approved.

Aabid is suspected of abuse, assault and neglect of the child, as well as of assaulting the mother. He is 21 and a resident of the West Bank living in Ashkelon illegally with the child’s mother for the past few months. He claimed that the child was injured after falling and denies intentionally harming her while he was baby sitting. After the injury he asked neighbors to call the police. Police tracked him down while he was en route to the West Bank.

The public defender representing Aabid said the man took “doting care of her in the past few months,” that he had no intention of harming her, and was cooperating with investigators. The baby’s biological father, also 22, was arrested and later released.