Suspect Y. Told Friends of Role in Grisly Serial Murders

A suspect in the murder of Israeli-American teen Dana Bennett reportedly told two friends how she watched her then-boyfriend beat Bennett to death and how they disposed of the body, one of these friends told Haaretz.

The suspect, who's name is being withheld, was ordered by the court yesterday to undergo psychiatric tests. Her remand was extended by 15 days as well.

The remains of Bennett, who disappeared in Tiberias six years ago, were discovered last week. The primary murder suspect is Adwan Yahiya Farhan, of the Arab village Wadi Hamam. He is currently serving a jail sentence for other violent crimes. He confessed to the murder and at least three others over the past 14 years, police said this week after the gag order on the case was lifted.

Farhan's ex-girlfriend, whom the police refer to as Y., told two friends about the murder and her own involvement in it.

"She told me how they [Y. and Farhan] drove around that evening. She approached Dana [Bennett] and told her they needed a chambermaid for a hotel near Migdal," Y.'s friend said.

"Y. told Dana the man in the car [Farhan] was the hotel manager and that they would pay her NIS 600 a night," she said.

Bennett got into the car and they drove to an olive grove, stopping on the way at a gas station to buy alcoholic drinks. Bennett asked Y. if Farhan could be trusted not to do them any harm.

"Y. told her she had nothing to worry about...'You'll help me clean the rooms and then we'll take you home,'" the friend said.

"At the grove Farhan pulled Bennett out of the car and started beating her up. She begged for mercy and tried to escape but he beat her to death," the friend recounted. "Y. saw it all...they dug a whole near an abandoned ice cream van, buried her, and set the place on fire. He asked Y. to make sure Dana was dead and she saw her face burnt up. 'I can't get it out of my mind,' she kept saying."

Y. told the police that Farhan had also murdered Sylvia Molrova, a 27-year-old Czech tourist, whose beaten body was found near the Tzalmon River in July 2003, less than a month before Bennett's disappearance.

"She said she and Farhan picked up the Czech woman, who was high. Farhan beat her then pushed her into a canal with water, to drown her. She got up from the water and the two of them pushed her back into the water until she didn't get up any more," she said.

"I was in shock. I couldn't believe that my friend of so many years could have done something like that. I asked her why she didn't report it and she said she was afraid, that he had threatened to do the same to her if she told anyone. I told her she must go to the police and tried to persuade her in every way possible but she panicked and said she shouldn't have told me," the friend said.

"She said she only told me because for fear Farhan would be released from prison one day and murder her. She had to tell someone she knew, so that if he were released and she disappeared, at least one person would know about it," she said.

Y. confided in another friend as well, an Arab woman in her 20s from Tiberias. This friend reported the story to the police shortly afterward.

"On Memorial Day eve we went to Tel Aviv and returned to Tiberias the next day. On the way back the [Arab] friend called and told Y. that there were police officers in her house, and that Y. should come there quickly. Y. went to her house and I haven't seen her since," she said.