Police to Probe Russian Mafia Ties to Rishon Family Murder

Source knowledgeable about underworld in former Soviet countries said there could be many motives.

The three generations of the Oshrenko family found dead in a partially torched apartment in Rishon Letzion on Saturday appear to have been murdered by one or more professional killers who may have come to Israel to commit the crime and have fled the country, police said Sunday, after receiving the initial autopsy results.

"Even by the standards of the Russian or Caucasian underworld, what took place in the apartment of this family was exceptional," said a veteran police officer.

He said it was too early to have a solid lead on the identity of the killer or killers responsible for the deaths of six members of the Oshrenko family, including a 3-year-old and an infant.

The officer said the backdrop to the murder appears to be "very sensitive, with a lot of anger," adding that "the way in which it was carried out indicates a possible combination of several factors, including personal issues."

Six members of the Oshrenko family were found dead Saturday: Revital, 3, and Netanel, 4 months; their parents, Tatiana, 28, and Dmitry, 32; and their grandparents, Edward and Ludmilla, both 56. All the bodies but one bore stab wounds.

Hundreds of police investigators were dispatched to the area surrounding the apartment Sunday to search for clues. Forensic experts returned to the murder scene to collect additional evidence. They asked nearby businesses to hand over footage from security cameras they may have had installed, since the killer or killers may have been recorded at the scene.

Police also searched a delicatessen owned by Edward and Ludmilla Oshrenko on Ahad Ha'am Street in Rishon Letzion and removed documents from the premises.

A legal source knowledgeable about the underworld in former Soviet countries said there could be many motives for the murders.

"There could be a lot of reasons for a killing like this one, and it doesn't have to be money," he said. "In Russia, they also kill people if they provided certain information or if they're affiliated with a particular party that someone has an interest in harming, and you have to remember that the world today is very global, and whoever has a lot of money has a lot of options, including sending whoever necessary to Israel to get a job done, and get him away before anyone even discovers its fatal results."

Even so, the legal source said, "rubbing out an entire family isn't something you see often - even in Russia."

If the murder is related to the Russian mafia, it won't be the first mob-related link between Russia and Israel.

Police are investigating complaints from Israeli businessmen who say they received extortion threats from a key figure in the Russian underworld who apparently objected to Israeli businesses expanding to Russia. The underworld figure has since died of wounds sustained in an unsolved hit that took place several weeks after police were told of the threats.

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