Three days after his wife was found bludgeoned to death inside his apartment, chief suspect musician Ilan Ben-Ami, 47, was found in central Tel Aviv by police Sunday night.
Ben-Ami was found on Frug Street in the city only a few hours after police sent out a statement to the press asking for anyone who had any details on his whereabouts to come forward.
Police said that not long after the statement was published, they received a call from a member of the public who said Ben-Ami was on Frug Street.
Police were dispatched to the street and arrested him.
The appeal to the public came after police questioned Ben- Ami’s friends and family members as well as fellow musicians he played with over the years.
No sign of Ben-Ami was found, but Tel Aviv police denied Sunday that the trail had run cold.
“It’s not that there’s no trace of him, it’s just that we’re asking if anyone has seen him to please come forward,” said Ch.-Insp.
Sami Dzobas, a spokesman for the Tel Aviv district.
Asked if they suspected Ben- Ami had fled the country, he said “We believe and hope he’s still in Israel.”
Ben-Ami’s estranged wife, Daphne Bar-Tzion, was found dead inside Ben-Ami’s apartment in the Florentine neighborhood of south Tel Aviv on Thursday night, hours after her family submitted a missing persons report.
Bar-Tzion, 49, was the founder and owner of Cafe Suzanna, a local institution in the Neveh Tzedek neighborhood for the past 20 years. She also was the owner of other eateries and was known for being a rock singer in Tel Aviv decades earlier. Bar-Tzion began recording again in 1999, releasing a number of singles and albums over the next decade, but did not find a wide audience for her music.
On Friday, Ch.-Supt. Asi Tzur, the head of the Yiftah subdistrict’s investigations and intelligence unit, said the couple was well known to police after Daphne submitted a domestic abuse complaint against Ben- Ami a few months earlier. Tzur said that in May police recommended to prosecutors that they indict Ben-Ami for the domestic abuse, but that the case had not reached that stage before Bar-Tzion died.
Ben-Ami is the guitarist for the Habreira Hativeet fusion band and was one of the writers and creators of “Baby Oriental,” an album of children’s songs put to Mizrahi, Mediterranean, and world beat rhythms.