Autopsy pending in suspected Jerusalem murder-suicide that killed 5

Details of the fire, which broke out around 5:00 p.m. Sunday, and the causes of the deaths in the sixth-floor apartment in the Talpiot neighborhood remained unclear.

January 2, 2017 11:20
2 minute read.

Scene of deadly fire in Jerusalem

Scene of deadly fire in Jerusalem


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Autopsies were approved Monday by the father of four young girls who were killed in a suspected murder-suicide along with their mother on Sunday in a Jerusalem apartment that went up in flames.

According to Israeli media, the father agreed for authorities to conduct autopsies on the remains of two of the daughters after he initially refused the procedure.

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Police were investigating the circumstances behind the incident. The case was allegedly shrouded in suspicions that the mother had killed herself along with her four daughters in a murder-suicide.

Details of the fire, which broke out around 5:00 p.m. Sunday, and the causes of the deaths in the sixth-floor apartment in the Talpiot neighborhood remained unclear.

United Hatzalah EMTs and first-responders from its Psycho- trauma Unit were dispatched to the apartment on Hebron Road following reports of foul play.

Yossi Frankel, deputy commander for Jerusalem of the ZAKA rescue and recovery organization, and operations officer of the international team, said he saw the bodies of all five family members after first-responders entered the residence through the balcony.

“The call came in initially to report a fire, and we arrived at the scene to find five dead bodies, including a mother in her 30s, who committed suicide by hanging, and two girls around 12 and 13, a sevenyear- old, and a two-year-old,” Frankel said.

“The cause of death for the children is still under investigation, but what I can tell you is that it is being investigated as a murder-suicide. This is one of the hardest cases that ZAKA in Jerusalem has had to deal with over the past few years. From experience, I can tell you that it was a terrible scene.”

Another ZAKA volunteer described a “shocking scene.”

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld did not comment on the circumstances surrounding the deaths, but said a joint investigation by police and fire officials has been launched.

“What we know until now is that firefighters and emergency units were called into Derech Hebron in Talpiot after five people were found there unconscious and later pronounced dead,” said Rosenfeld.

“There was serious damage in the apartment and its surrounding area, and an investigation has been opened by police and firefighters to determine the cause of the fire.”

According to an unidentified Magen David Adom paramedic, the apartment was full of smoke when first-responders arrived.

Daniel K. Eisenbud contributed to this report.

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