The man suspected of murdering 17-year-old Yael Melnik by burying her alive will be kept in jail for three more days.
The Haifa Magistrate’s Court ordered Eduard Kachura, 49, held on Tuesday, after the police requested he be detained for four more days. The Magistrate’s Court had ruled on Monday for Kachura’s release to house arrest, but the Haifa District Court overturned the decision following an appeal by police, and extended his detention through Tuesday.
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Kachura was arrested on October 2 and has so far appeared in court 14 times, but the prosecution has yet to announce an intent to indict him, since it is having trouble refuting the story he told police.
Kachura worked as a nurse at a psychiatric center where Melnik was once hospitalized. She was found buried in a pit at a construction site in the Haifa suburb of Kiryat Motzkin. Kachura claimed that he and Melnik dug the pit together as “therapy” for her suicidal thoughts. But he said he did not cover her head with sand and doesn’t know how that happened.
State Prosecutor Amit Aisman ordered additional investigation into the case, said the State Prosecutor’s Office.
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Ruth Melnik, Yael’s sister, said after the court handed down its ruling: “I am optimistic today. I simply can’t understand why the prosecution is afraid to indict him.”
Haifa District Court Judge Ron Shapiro said he accepted the police’s appeal in part because after examining the evidence, he concluded that Kachura’s actions “were the principal cause that led to the situation in which the body was found,” since the autopsy found that Melnik’s hands were clean, ruling out the possibility that she buried herself. In addition, Kachura poses “a high level of danger” to the public, given that he “knowingly exploited the situation of an incompetent person” and led her into circumstances that endangered her life.
At a bail hearing two weeks ago, Kachura said that Melnik “wanted to be buried and arise as a new person,” and that he and she had fled her grandmother, “who sent the police” after them. Three weeks ago, Channel 12 television reported that Kachura said he had given her a breathing tube, so she could breathe in the pit, and in fact a tube with Melnik’s DNA on it was found nearby, which could bolster his story. In addition, a security guard told Haaretz that he saw both of them digging, and a spade found nearby had Melnik’s DNA on it.