Man Who Lost Daughter in Lod Drive-by: Murder No Surprise

The death of Margarita Lautin in a gangland shooting in Bat Yam on Monday came as no surprise to Ariel Katayev, whose 3-year-old daughter Leah was killed in a drive-by shooting in Lod in May 2005, as the family returned from the bar and bat mitzvahs of their two oldest children.

"It won't be the last time," said Katayev, whose relative Nadia Galibov was also killed in the attack. "I won't be surprised at the next murder either. I'm not surprised by anything since they took my little one away."

Police suspect that Katayev and Galibov were killed when the gunmen mistook the car's driver for reputed underworld figure Yitzhak Abergil, the apparent target of the attack. Abergil had been at the events hall next door to where the Katayev family was celebrating, and the man driving the Katayevs' car resembled Abergil.

The Katayev-Galibov murder has still not been solved, however. Two years ago, one of five suspects police arrested agreed to turn state's witness, and police had DNA evidence apparently tying one of the suspects to the shooting. But no one has been indicted, and the Justice Ministry said yesterday there was nothing new in that investigation.

"The family has managed to slowly get over the loss," said Katayev. "But I am shamed by the fact that my daughter has been in the grave for three years already and the murderers are still free. That's why I believe that this won't be the last case. The police don't have enough power, and as for me, nothing will help anymore."