marie pisam rose mother 224 88.
(photo credit: Channel 2)
A team of police divers finished searching a section of the Yarkon River early Thursday afternoon, without finding the body of Rose Pizem, believed to have been killed by her grandfather Ronnie Ron three months ago.
Police are concerned that contrary to a statement he made recently, Ron may have buried her at a different location or thrown her body in the Mediterranean Sea.
The team will now begin to search in the Netanya area, joined by volunteers and dog teams.
Earlier Thursday, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter visited the site where police were searching for Rose, and told the teams that patience is crucial to the search.
Dichter met with officers in the search party, as well as a number of divers that were searching a section of the Yarkon River near the Reading power plant in north Tel Aviv, by the mouth of the Yarkon River, urging them to "give us an answer."
"This is a horrifying story and it is shocking enough to invest every effort possible to find the girl," said Dichter.
"There is no doubt that Israel as a society wasn't there for the girl when she was in need," added the minister. "Israel Police will do everything necessary to solve this mystery."
Experts advised the police to look toward the Mediterranean in their search for the suitcase with Rose's body. With the help of the navy - which has reversed an earlier decision and decided to help with the search, several scuba divers were expected to check the seabed.
"We have been told that a current may have pushed the suitcase out to sea, where it will have sunk," said Dep.-Cmdr Yoav Cotler, who is heading the search on behalf of Central District police.
Hours earlier, the police had scrambled a helicopter into the air after receiving a report from a local resident who said she had seen a child's body floating in the water very close to the area officers plan on searching Thursday. "We don't yet know if we have something fitting our description. A woman called saying she saw a body near the power plant," Cotler said.
The aerial search did not yield results.
Intensive police searches for Pizem's body were conducted in the Yarkon throughout Wednesday as teams of scuba divers worked in shifts checking the murky waters under the Bavli Bridge, where Ronnie Ron, Rose's grandfather, said he threw a suitcase containing her body.
"We are covering the zone around the bridge to the full before going ahead with our last resort, which is to dry up the river here," Cotler said.
If that happens, the police will pour tons of sand into the river to raise the riverbed. "Once we do that, any evidence in the riverbed could be destroyed, so I am doing all that I can to make sure we have searched everywhere under the bridge," he said.
Divers divided the river water into squares using white strings, coming up every few minutes with black bags carrying soil samples.
Downstream, Israel Navy sailors placed underwater cameras and discussed the possibility of reintroducing sonar searches in the coming days, as police boats cruised by searching the river's banks.
While police said Ron's confession was credible, they stressed that it came after he had made several contradictory claims about Rose's whereabouts.
Detectives also searched near the Netanya home of Ronnie and his partner, Marie, Rose's mother, on Wednesday. "Maybe he's not telling the truth - we have to think about this," Cotler said.
Earlier in the day, Israel Police Insp.-Gen David Cohen arrived at the Yarkon and held a press conference. "We are launching a supreme effort to find the body," he said as scuba divers worked behind him.
Police refused to address media reports suggesting that Ron's mobile phone could be used to help understand what had happened during the supposed slaying.
Dozens of onlookers watched the police search, including Adi, a man from Givatayim whose two daughters, aged two and four, sat on his lap.
"I've told them that Rose's parents weren't nice to her, and that Rose's grandfather threw a suitcase with Rose's dolls in it. That's what she thinks the police are looking for," Adi said.
Pointing at one of his girls, he added, "Every time I look at Rose's picture, it reminds me of my daughter. I feel horrible, this is inhuman."
A local resident, Shuki, said the alleged killing exemplified a troubling new tide that was sweeping over the country.
"I'm so shocked this happened in Israel," he said. "We have become a nation of extremes here. It's a disgrace."