Police: Family's Death Caused by Carbon Monoxide

The bodies of Naif Kayuf, 43, his wife Reema Kayuf, 38, and their 3-year-old daughter Karin were found in the Druze village on Monday evening.

The mysterious death of three Isfiya family members was caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, police said yesterday.

The bodies of Naif Kayuf, 43, his wife Reema Kayuf, 38, and their 3-year-old daughter Karin were found in the Druze village on Monday evening.

Police said the house had been built without a permit, and the family had a generator in one of the rooms instead of connecting the home to the electricity grid. Police say autopsy results and findings at the scene indicate that gas leaked out of the generator and killed the three family members as they slept.

Some 800 homes in Isfiya are not connected to the electricity grid.

Observers passing by the family's living room window yesterday could see a spacious and comfortable home, with two new couches and a large wedding portrait of the couple. Next to the window was Karin's rocking horse. "You could see this was a happy home, a clean home, well off, without signs of financial distress," Commander Ahuva Tomer, who was the first officer at the scene, told Haaretz.

Police initially suspected that the father had killed his wife and daughter and then committed suicide, but this theory was confounded because there were no signs of violence on the bodies or in the home. Tomer said there was some blood at the scene, including a bloody shoe print, but the blood turned out to be a result of asphyxiation, and the footprint belonged to Naif Kayuf's father, who discovered the bodies.

"We were confused at first because we saw an orderly home, with candy on the table and no sign of violence," Tomer said. "It didn't fit together. We thought it could be poisoning, but couldn't figure out the source."

When the officers tried to switch on the light, they found the generator, which was producing a sharp smell. Police now believe the family turned on the generator and went to sleep, and were killed in the night when the machine malfunctioned.

Naif Kayuf's brother Ashraf told Haaretz that the family was greatly relieved to learn this wasn't a murder-suicide.

"Murder isn't something that's common in our community, and despite all the reports, we never really thought he killed his wife and daughter," he said of his brother.

Local council head Waja Kayuf, who is related to the victims, told Haaretz that Isfiya does not have a master plan and that some 800 buildings are not connected to the electricity grid, or are connected illegally.

"When I got the call about the family, I was leaving the Knesset, where I had had a meeting in an attempt to resolve that situation. These homes are built on private land that is meant for housing but it's still in planning stages, and the planning committees and the interior ministry keep stalling. So people are forced to build without a permit. They're going to be connected to electricity eventually anyway, so why not connect them now?" he said.

The Interior Ministry said in response that it was working on a plan for Isfiya, and that the details were the responsibility of the local authority.