(photo credit: Police)
Murdered Lod resident Valentina Dombayev had been trying to flee the relationship with her estranged husband Iyad Sha'ami, the Yad L'Achim organization said Thursday.
"Valentina had contacted Yad L'Achim because she wanted to begin a new chapter in her life and leave behind the complex relationship with her Arab husband," said organization representatives. "She had a long conversation to this effect with a Yad L'Achim social worker, just two days before her disappearance."
The organization, which offers intervention in cases of intermarriage, said that similar cases of women being intimidated into abusive relationships are all too frequent. The group says it they sometimes even resorts to "launching military-like rescues from hostile Arab villages and setting the women up in 'safe' houses around the country, where they can build new lives for themselves."
According to police, Dombayev and Sha'ami had separated two weeks before she disappeared. The two allegedly had disagreed over which parent would have custody of their four-and-a-half-year-old son.
Last Friday, Dombayev and a friend were kidnapped off an Ashdod street. Her friend managed to escape from the trunk of the moving vehicle, but Dombayev was never seen again alive.
Dombayev's friend alerted Kiryat Gat police, and a search was launched for the missing young mother. The friend told police that Sha'ami and another man had carried out the kidnapping. As each day of searches went by, however, detectives became increasingly concerned for Dombayev's life.
Early Wednesday morning, police searching at the Ad Halom junction outside of Ashdod discovered a woman's body lying in weeds opposite a busy gas station. A mobile crime scene investigation van called to the site confirmed their worst fears: The body with the blond hair was Dombayev's.
Detectives said they believed Dombayev had been strangled to death.
Even before the body was discovered, police had staked out Sha'ami's family's Lod house and arrested the husband when he returned to the compound to pick up his son. Police believe he had intended to flee with the young boy to a Palestinian-controlled area of the West Bank.
Sha'ami, according to detectives, confessed to the kidnapping during questioning, but denied having murdered the 24-year-old Dombayev. He argued that she had also managed to escape, and that the grim fate that later befell her had happened after the escape.
After the body was discovered, the Israel Police's elite Yasam unit also arrested a second suspect in the kidnapping, a 30-year-old Rahat resident. That suspect will be questioned and then brought to the Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court on Thursday morning for an extension of his remand.