No Suspect, No Motive, No Details: No Leads in Murder of Jerusalem Couple in Their 70s

Young neighbor gave the police some details, saying that he’d heard shouting from the apartment, apparently when family members discovered the bodies

Outside the murder scene in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon Hanetziv, January 13, 2019.
Emil Salman

Dozens of police cruisers hurried on Sunday to Mordechai Elkakhi Street in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood, shattering an incongruous silence outside building number 55, where the bodies of Yehuda and Tamar Kadourie, a couple in their 70s, had been found in their apartment with stab wounds.

Tamar was last heard from on WhatsApp on Thursday evening. Since then, said family members, no one had managed to make contact with her. Her relatives tried to enter the apartment, and called the police when they found it locked. Firefighters gained entry through a window and found the couple's remains. Later the Jerusalem District police commander, Maj. Gen. Yoram Halevi, arrived.

“This is a murder scene” said local police station commander, Chief Superintendent Shimon Marciano. The chief pathologist at the Institute of Forensic Medicine, Dr. Chen Kugel, also made a rare appearance at the scene. He told Haaretz that there were hard-to-discern details and that the investigation was intense, adding that he doesn’t usually come to murder scenes. He refused to give further details.

Inside the building, a couple living across from the victims stayed indoors, with their daughter rebuffing journalists’ questions. “They were a quiet family” said another neighbor. Another young neighbor gave the police some details, telling us later that he’d heard shouting from the apartment, apparently when family members discovered the bodies.

Other neighbors gathered and mentioned another incident that had occurred last Wednesday, in which a 15-year-old girl was stabbed close to the same building. She managed to flee, but wasn't able to identify her assailant. The police have no clue as to his identity.

Neighbors panicked, thinking the stabbings could be related. The mother of the assaulted girl said, “I hope they catch him quickly. There are small children here, with three kindergartens and a school. It’s very dangerous.”

A policeman in the neighborhood also said he believes the girl’s assailant may have stabbed her while fleeing the murder scene, since she was in his way. But this doesn’t fit the reconstruction of the crime, since the murder apparently happened on Thursday, a day after the teen was stabbed.

In any case, tying the two cases does not answer many questions, such as when the murders took place and how did the perpetrator get access to the apartment since there was no sign of a break-in and the door was locked. Did the couple struggle with their assailant? Was there more than one murderer?

A few journalists took advantage of the inattention of Border Policemen watching the apartment and slipped inside. A crime scene investigator was shocked to see them taking pictures. “I beg you not to publish these photos, it could harm the investigation” he said. A quick phone call resulted in a gag order. The next day investigators returned to take fingerprints. A few detectives scoured the area, looking for a lead. Family members were summoned to the police station to give testimony on Sunday.

“We realize there’s a murderer on the loose” said a police investigator. The police don’t rule out a connection between the murder and the stabbing of the girl on Wednesday, but establishing such a link is still the “million-dollar question.”