Social Worker Knew Rose Was Missing Before Investigation

A social worker testified yesterday that she had received a report of the disappearance of 4-year-old Rose Pizem a month before police launched the investigation that resulted in the girl's body being discovered in Tel Aviv's Yarkon River in September. Ronny Ron, the girl's paternal grandfather and the live-in lover of her mother, Marie-Charlotte Renault, are being tried for the girl's murder.

Mira Karni, a social worker at the National Council for the Child, told Petah Tikva District Court that on July 17 a man identifying himself as a French lawyer called her to report Rose's disappearance, and three days later the girl's great-grandmother, Vivian Yaakov, called to report her missing. The police investigation began only on August 12.

Karni told the court the law requires organizations such as her own to report to welfare services, not the police, unless the situation is an emergency. "And you didn't think that report was such a case?" the judge asked her, telling her she should have reported any case of suspected child abuse or disappearance, even if not formally required to do so.

Also yesterday, the Netanya Police chief told the court Ron had confessed to killing his granddaughter already during the first night of questioning. Police Commander Ron Gertner told the court the girl's grandfather told police how he committed the murder, saying, "The child was sleeping, I placed her inside the bag, closed it with the zipper and threw it in the Yarkon."

According to Gertner, on the first night of questioning Ron took police to the site at the river close to where Rose's body was later discovered, and only later gave different versions of the location where he had dropped her. "We asked him whether he has no mercy - how he could drown a girl in that manner if she was still alive," he said.