Police Await Autopsy Results in Beach Murder

Israel Police are anxiously awaiting the results of the autopsy performed last night on Aryeh Karp, 59, whose body was found on a Tel Aviv beach Saturday after he was beaten by a group of drunken assailants the night before. Ten suspects were taken into custody.

Karp and his wife and daughter had been taking a walk on a beachfront promenade late Friday night at Tel Baruch when they were attacked. Karp apparently attempted to protect his wife and daughter from the assault.

Meanwhile, there was progress yesterday in the cases of two women whose dismembered bodies were discovered last week in the Alexander River north of Netanya, and in a dumpster in Ramat Gan. It is thought that the two were murdered by the same person, but that the perpetrator is not a serial killer. Police are still trying to determine the women's identities and whether they were related, and are also trying to locate the actual scenes of the murders.

The autopsy in the Karp case was performed at the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine in Tel Aviv. The police are operating on the assumption that the cause of death was the beating, allegedly done by a group of attackers, but that cannot be proved until the report is released. Final laboratory results will probably not be available for about another week.

"There is still a lot of evidence to gather both from the scene [of the crime], and through investigative and intelligence efforts," a senior police source said, "but it is clear that the autopsy results will carry a lot of weight."

Police noted the speed with which evidence was gathered against the 10 people thought to be involved in the alleged assault and murder: They were arrested less than two hours after the police initially received the report of the incident. Saturday evening, eight Arab residents of Jaljulya, in addition to a woman soldier from Kfar Sava and a female minor from Petah Tikva, were brought to a Tel Aviv court. The hearing, during which the police sought the suspects' continued detention, lasted until yesterday morning.

The remand of six of the suspects who police believe were directly involved in the attack and murder of Karp, was extended for various periods ranging from five to 10 days. The detention of the other four was extended for an additional two to four days.

In a move that both surprised and angered police, Judge Yael Hoenig initially ordered the release of the two young Jewish women to house arrest. They had been arrested on suspicion of not only being present at the scene, but also for obstruction of the investigation because they allegedly fled with the other suspects.

Said one senior police source yesterday: "It can't be that someone suspected of involvement in a murder, who was at the scene and even saw everything that happened there, goes home after less than a day."

The police appealed the release of the young women to house arrest before the District Court. It reversed Judge Hoenig's decision to release the woman soldier, ordering that she be detained for three days, but agreed to the minor's house arrest.

The investigative evidence gather until this point indicates that a 17-year-old youth, who was drunk at the time, initially approached Karp and his wife and began to bother their 24-year-old daughter. After Karp apparently asked him to stop, but before the family left the scene, the teenager assaulted Karp and then called to the other alleged assailants, who ran to the scene and began to brutally assault him and the women. Karp's wife and daughter managed to flee toward one end of the promenade, but Karp himself fled in the other direction. He was allegedly caught by the group, who reportedly continued to beat him until he collapsed and died.

It is not clear to the police what transpired next, but it is thought the suspects threw Karp's body into the sea and fled.

The arrests of the suspects, some at home and some in a forest near Rosh Ha'ayin, was made possible because the police had the license numbers of two cars in which the suspects allegedly escaped, and also identified the telephone numbers of cell phones they had apparently used.

When the police arrived at the forest, the woman soldier reportedly tried to hide behind a tree and told her 17-year-old female companion, who had already been apprehended not to implicate her because it would get her into trouble with the army.

The soldier's parents admitted that earlier in the evening on Friday, she was seen drunk in a Kfar Sava park. They said their daughter has problems, whereby her perception of reality is like that of a nine year-old. Since the court hearing, they have avoided the media.