Twins Suspected of Killing 7-year-old Boy Had Been Held, Released on Earlier Allegations of Child Abuse

Police records show that the two brothers suspected of killing a 7-year-old boy near Ashdod last week had been arrested and interrogated about exposing themselves to children just days before the boy's death. The suspects deny any wrongdoing.

According to the records, the police released twins Naor and Adir Sudmi, both in their 20s, only 10 days before they found the body of 7-year-old Leon Kalantarov in the twins' home in the small town of Bnei Ayish. They had been arrested on suspicion of violence and sexual conduct.

The Sudmis were in custody for two days on suspicion of violence and exposing their genitals to one boy, and their buttocks to another. Also, six weeks ago, police investigated suspected violence based on a report that one of the brothers got into a fight with a young man who accused them of molesting children.

A source providing welfare services in Bnei Ayish said the twins have a history of violent offenses and that they had been committed for related offenses to the Neveh Horesh institute for delinquent youths.

The Kiryat Gat Magistrate's Court extended the Sudmis' remand by a week on Friday afternoon.

According to residents of Bnei Ayish, police visited the twins' house - where they live with their parents and other siblings - shortly after Kalantarov went missing, but did not enter. The boy's body was found in a bed four hours later, at 2 A.M., after police returned for a second inspection and broke down the door. They broke down a bedroom door after the twins would not let them in.

The young boy went missing on Thursday afternoon. Police first visited the Sudmi residence at 10 P.M., but a sister of the twins told officers that they were asleep.

"The cops were there but didn't even come inside," one neighbor complained. "Maybe he was still alive then. I don't understand their decisions."

Southern District Police Chief Yohanan Danino said the police are doing everything in their power to solve the case as soon as possible. They are investigating whether the suspects sexually abused the boy before killing him.

An evaluation of the Sudmi brothers by a psychiatrist from the National Insurance Institute after their release from the delinquent-youth institute found that they were not dangerous. The evaluation - commissioned by welfare services that tried to find work for the brothers outside Bnei Ayish - found that they did not need to be committed.

Police, when asked about the first visit on Thursday to the Sudmi residence, said that before Kalantarov's disappearance, the twins had been questioned about a complaint. During questioning at the Kiryat Malakhi station, the suspects presented papers that said they were mentally disabled, according to the police. The case was transferred to the welfare authorities, the police added, and the evidence was "not strong."

"No one imagined that they would kill someone because they were not diagnosed as needing hospitalization," said a source from the welfare services familiar with the case. "The problem was that their family did not cooperate with us, protected them and would not allow us to treat them or transfer them to the care of a different authority, saying there was nothing wrong with them.

However, the Sudmis' parents apparently agreed to send their children for psychiatric treatment. Their first therapy session was scheduled for next week. "Only recently the parents realized that their children need therapy," the welfare-services source said. "Tragically, it was too late."

The parents told their lawyer on Friday that they were "sorry for the terrible loss." Their attorney also said that they wanted to say that they "understand the father of the child," but that they did not believe that their sons were "capable of the deed."