A chief homicide detective spoke of the horror he experienced upon discovering the body of three-and-a-half-year-old Noa Goldring, who was suffocated by her father on Saturday.
"I've investigated dozens of murder cases. This is one of the most shocking cases I've seen," Ch.-Supt. Micha Levine, who heads the homicide department in the Central Police District's Central Unit, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
The Central Unit detectives took over the investigation from Kfar Saba police, and were called to the murder scene on Saturday afternoon.
They found Noa's body stretched out on a bed in the home of her father, Assaf Goldring, in Moshav Batzra.
"As soon as I saw her, I saw my own daughter. She was a beautiful baby who barely lived," Levine said.
He was speaking after the Ramle Magistrate's Court ordered Goldring to remain in custody for 10 days.
Lisa, Noa's mother, and Assaf were married for four-and-a-half years before separating last month. Police recovered a letter from the murder scene written by Assaf to Lisa, which they say is significant to the case.
Earlier, police struggled to convince Lisa, who had recently become Orthodox, to allow them to perform a postmortem on her daughter's body. She eventually consented, and police are now awaiting the coroner's report.
Judge Ami Kobo accepted a request from Goldring's lawyer, Gad Zilbershlag, that his client undergo a thorough psychiatric evaluation to determine his state of mind. Police were opposed to the examination at this stage, arguing it would hinder the investigation.
Asked if he believed Goldring to be sane, Levine told the Post, "It's not clear."
He added, "I will never fully understand this. No motive will give anyone the right to take a life."
Central Police District chief Cmdr. Nissim Mor told Army Radio before the hearing that Goldring's act had been premeditated, and that he used a nylon wrap to suffocate his daughter.
The comments were criticized by Goldring's attorney during the remand hearing, and heated words were traded between the attorney and police representative Uri Hadas.
"I was shocked to hear police say that they will do all they can to prove this was a premeditated murder," Zilbershlag said.
Acknowledging that his client had confessed to the killing, the attorney added, "This is an act of madness. It is not comprehensible. The gap between the act and my client's character and history must be examined."
Goldring, a captain in the IDF reserves and an employee of the Israel Electric Corporation, had undergone a brief evaluation by a psychiatrist late on Saturday night after attacking police officers who were guarding him, in what appears to be a second suicide attempt at the Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba.
The psychiatrist concluded that he was fit to be incarcerated, and he was taken to the Central Unit's headquarters in Ramle on Sunday for an interrogation. On Saturday, Goldring attempted to slit his wrists, and he arrived in court on Sunday with bandages and handcuffs around both wrists.
He stared at the courtroom blankly for most of the time, occasionally putting his head in his hands. At one point, he flashed a smile to his father, who had taken a seat near his son at the end of the hearing. Goldring's father was barred from the courtroom during the earlier part of the hearing due to a fear that his exposure to case material could interfere with the investigation.
"I think police should seek to find the truth," Zilbershlag said. "We should also see if he was under the influence of drugs."
He blasted police for failing to take a urine sample to corroborate Goldring's claim of swallowing large amounts of pills.
"He [Goldring] is a despicable murderer," police representative Hadas said.
"If my friend can't deal with this, then the police should send someone else," Zilbershlag said. "The fact that a girl is dead pains me too - I have a two-year-old child. She [Noa] is dead and we are in court. That's not the issue here."
Hadas said Goldring "knows what he is doing. He is using his right to silence. An evaluation will significantly delay our investigation. Police should not be delayed by eight days. This is not the stage that a person should be sent for an evaluation."
A few hours earlier, Noa was laid to rest in Jerusalem. Her maternal grandmother called for Assaf to be executed for his crime.
"He should be put in an electric chair - an eye for an eye," Mazal Noam told Israel Radio. "Why did he take her life? They should take his in return," she said.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.