Boy, 4, Unburied After 9 Days as Key Murder Suspect – Mom – Under Care

No legal guardian available to deal with burial as mother hospitalized in psychiatric ward since murder

Almog Ben Zikri
Almog Ben Zikri
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Police outside a home in Eilat where a 4-year-old boy was found dead, February 2019.
Police outside a home in Eilat where a 4-year-old boy was found dead, February 2019.Credit: MDA Israel
Almog Ben Zikri
Almog Ben Zikri

The four-year-old who is suspected of being murdered by his mother nine days ago in Eilat has still not been buried. The Justice Ministry’s director-general Emmy Palmor and State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan intervened on Tuesday to find a solution to a problem, which arose because the mother has been hospitalized in a psychiatric ward since the murder and is incapable of deciding on a burial. President Reuven Rivlin’s office also said it would intervene so that the child could be buried forthwith.

The boy’s body has been at the National Forensic Institute at Abu Kabir since his death, since no legal guardian is available for dealing with the burial. A legal affairs source told Haaretz that the boy’s mother is in no shape to sign a consent form for burial, and one of the solutions being examined is that the Custodian General sign the required form.

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A Ukrainian man is claiming that he is the boy’s biological father and that he wishes to take the boy to his country for burial. Another source says that when the man was located a few days ago, he had no documentation showing that he was the boy’s father. One possibility being looked into is that the man be allowed to prove his paternity, thus allowing him to decide about the burial.

Haaretz did not get a response to questions it addressed to police and the State Prosecutor’s Office. On Tuesday the State Prosecutor’s Office said there were no new developments. The Justice Ministry started dealing with the issue on Tuesday, trying to resolve the legal problem, with the mother’s lawyers talking to the Southern District’s state prosecutor for civil affairs, attorney Zion Illouz.

The mother was arrested last week, suspected of drowning the boy in the bathtub at their home. Reportedly, her partner, who is not the boy’s biological father, screamed, “You’ve killed the boy!” The mother, who arrived from Ukraine 10 months ago, has been at a mental health facility in Be’er Sheva since her arrest. She was found this week to be unfit to stand trial and not responsible for her actions during the murder, based on a psychiatric assessment.

State prosecutors will have to decide whether to file an indictment and contest the psychiatric evaluation, or accept it and demand an injunction calling for her hospitalization for the maximal period stipulated by law – 25 years.

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