An elderly woman who was choked to death in her Jaffa home in 2010 was murdered
by a couple in order to steal money for rent, police in Tel Aviv said Sunday,
following the arrest of suspects.
Shoshana Levi, 78, was found bound and
without vital life signs in her home by paramedics.
examinations found that her attackers had shoved cloths and a tennis ball into
her mouth, leading to asphyxiation.
The investigation was led by the
central unit of the Tel Aviv district police, which gathered DNA and forensic
evidence from the murder scene.
Dep.-Cmdr. Nissim Daudi, a senior officer
in the unit, told The Jerusalem Post that the investigation hit an initial dead
end after a year-and-ahalf of work, before a breakthrough was made.
we re-examined the case, we discovered that a neighbor had visited Levi for
thirty minutes, two weeks prior to the homicide. We launched an undercover
investigation of the neighbor and her family,” he said.
The woman, Samar
Abu Khamed, an Israeli Arab woman, had moved to the Kalkilya area of the West
Bank since the homicide, but was originally from Jaffa. Police began a complex
operation to get DNA evidence from Khamed and her family, and secretly got a
first sample from Khamed’s sister.
After comparing the sister’s DNA to
that found in the crime scene, forensic officers informed Daudi’s unit that he
was in the right direction.
“Look for someone in her family, we were
told,” Daudi said.
Police proceeded to secretly take DNA samples from all
of the sister’s relatives by arranging for them to visit police stations and
government offices, and placing them in situations in which they would leave DNA
behind, such as offering them a glass of water.
In April, a DNA match was
found between Khamed and the crime scene.
Khamed and six relatives were
arrested in the middle of the night early on May 3, in a large police-IDF
operation in the West Bank.
Within two days, Khamed confessed to the
killing, and tied Omar Koran, her ex-husband, to the crime.
later, police were back in the West Bank searching for him.
“We had not
been aware of him in the first round of arrests,” Daudi said. “He spotted a
police roadblock while riding on a horse, and began to flee on
Police units chased him down and arrested the
Khamed reenacted the homicide on Sunday. Police said a third
suspect drove the couple from Kalkilya to Jaffa and back on the day of the
murder. The other four suspects allegedly assisted the couple.
murder suspects said they became burdened with debts and stole from Levi to pay
rent, police added.