Body of girl murdered 37 years ago exhumed due to new findings in case

Nava Elimelech went missing in 1982. Ten days later, her body parts were found wrapped in bags in the Mediterranean sea.

By ALON HOCHMON/MAARIV
August 7, 2019 12:17
1 minute read.
Nava Elimelech

Nava Elimelech. (photo credit: YOSSI ALONI/MAARIV)

A court has authorized police to exhume Nava Elimelech, who was murdered in 1982, due to new findings in the unsolved murder case that stirred the nation.

After re-examining the investigation file and findings gathered over the years, police decided to exhume her body to carry out several investigative actions.

As a result, she was exhumed on Sunday in coordination with the deceased’s family and it was transferred to the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Abu Kabir. The case contains a prohibition order that does not allow for the publication of further details or any information that might identify the suspects.


Elimelech was 12 when she left her parents’ home in Bat Yam to her friend’s home on March 20, 1982. When she did not arrive at her destination, her family members began searching for her. Ten days after she disappeared, the Mediterranean Sea emitted parts of her body. First, her head was found wrapped in a bag, followed by other bags. To this day, it is unknown what happened to the girl.

A special investigative team was set up to search for Elimelech’s killer. The police did not have a lead to solve the mystery, and finally in June 1983, the police announced that it had reached a dead end in the case.

In 1998, Amos and Yehuda Shelef were arrested as suspects in the case, but were released for lack of evidence. Later, it was argued that the motive may actually have been a terror attack. An Arab who had been imprisoned claimed that his cell-mate confessed to the murder, but he was released and reached Jordan before police investigators caught him, and he later died without being investigated.

Tel Aviv police chief at the time of the murder investigation, Avraham Turgeman, said in an interview to Maariv more than a year after the murder that “the Nava Elimelech case was exceptional on a global scale as well.”


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