Filipina Caregiver Suspected of Murdering 93-year-old Israeli Employer

The patient's daughter claims the caregiver 'was working on a solution' to repay loans, 'but I didn't believe the solution would be my mother'

File photo: Police forces in Tel Aviv, April 17, 2014.
David Bachar

A foreign caregiver was arrested on Wednesday for the suspected murder of a 93-year-old Israeli woman she had taken care of for the last four years.

The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Thursday extended the 35-year-old's remand until Sunday, after the police and her attorneys, who deny the allegations against their client, reached an agreement.

The elderly woman was hospitalized in December after becoming unconscious and died shortly afterward, but there were no signs of violence on her body.

>> Read more: Israel set to deport dozens of Filipina migrant workers and their children

A day earlier, the patient's daughter, who shares an apartment in the Tel Aviv suburb of Givatayim with her mother and the caregiver, called in a doctor after the mother was ill. 

The doctor recommended the elderly woman be taken to hospital for further medical care, but the family refused, citing her old age and the risk involved in moving her. She was finally taken to hospital the following day.

When police began investigating they found footage from a security camera in the apartment that showed the caregiver, a Filipina national who arrived in Israel in 2013 and is currently seeking a residency permit, covering it with an adhesive bandage the day before the woman's death.

The caregiver says she didn't know it was a camera. Her attorney, Benjamin Bachar, said she is willing to take a lie detector test to prove her claims.

The daughter told journalists that her mother had warned her about the caregiver a week before she died. "'Don’t leave me alone with her,'" the daughter quoted her mother as saying. "She felt that something wasn’t right."

She also said the family contacted the police only after it was "1,000 percent sure" that their mother had been murdered, as the caregiver was "an important part of our family. We loved her dearly." Even after she confronted the caregiver on Wednesday about blinding the security camera, the daughter said, "it was hard for me to see her without hugging and kissing her."

"The caregiver wasn’t acting normally the month before she [the mother] died," the daughter continued. "She said she had borrowed a lot of money. I didn’t know she was taking loans with interest. I knew her husband did that, and that his father had been murdered because of it, but it turned out she was also doing it."

The Filipina caregiver, she added, told her that a relative had borrowed money and not repaid it. "I told her that in January we had to pay her convalescence pay, so she’d get money," the daughter said, referring to an annual bonus that employees are entitled to give by law. "She said she was working on a solution, but I didn’t believe the solution would be my mother."

Bachar said the caregiver denied abusing her patient and added that the family was happy with her work. "She says she fed the woman, her employer, as she always did," he added. "She loved her employer and there were no problems between them; she treated her like family. She gave her food as usual, and apparently, something happened."