Police continue to search for Rose

Authorities prepare to charge girl's grandfather Ronnie Ron for her death even if no body recovered.

Ronnie Ron and rose 224.88 (photo credit: Channel 10)
Ronnie Ron and rose 224.88
(photo credit: Channel 10)
Police have not given up on their search for four-year-old Rose Pizem, but authorities are preparing to charge her grandfather Ronnie Ron for her death even if no body is ever recovered. Ron recently told investigators he killed Rose in May and threw her into the Yarkon River. On Tuesday, the Burial Society joined the searches for Rose's body, which stretch from the Yarkon in north Tel Aviv, where divers again scoured the riverbed, to the area near Highway 2 south of Netanya. "We haven't given up yet, it's too early to call off the search. But at some point we will go to the prosecution [with what we have], a police spokesman said. The spokesman added that Marie-Charlotte Pizem, Rose's mother and Ron's partner, might be placed under house arrest on Thursday, when she is due to appear at a Ramle court for a hearing on her custody. Even without a body, a court can find Ron guilty of his granddaughter's death, said criminal law expert Prof. Emanuel Gross of the University of Haifa. "Is finding a body vital for a conviction? In Israel, the answer is no. A body is not needed to accuse someone of killing someone else," Gross said. "You can convict someone in Israel of being responsible for the death of another based on a confession given outside of court." Ron told police he killed Rose in a fit of rage, after previous denials and contradictory claims on her whereabouts. To convict without a body, the court would need additional evidence such as a supporting fact to convince it that the suspect's confession was credible, Gross added. "We have examples of this in the precedents. But we have also learned of the dangers of relying exclusively on a confession, which can result in a wrongful conviction." Retired High Court Justice Eliezer Goldberg pushed through a number of reforms on how courts should treat a murder confession, Gross said, calling on judges and juries to consider its credibility. "Are the comments in a confession possible and logical? Or is it contradictory, meaning that it carries less weight," he said. Gross said that if a court was presented with a problematic confession, stronger supporting evidence would be required for a conviction. In Ron's case, such evidence could exist in the form of cellphone records of Ron's movements, Gross added. "Ron said he was in the Yarkon area on a certain day, and records of his phone location confirm this movement - that could constitute confirmation that he is telling the truth," Gross said. "It means he was there but it does not mean he threw the body into that location." Ultimately, Gross said, a court would be unlikely to believe that Ron would "incriminate himself for no reason." Unless Ron suddenly denies his confession and provides a good explanation for why he made it, the court could assume that it is credible, Gross said. Ron could be attempting to deceive police regarding the location of the body to back up his claim that the killing was unpremeditated, fearing that Rose's body could disprove his testimony. "But we don't know what else the police have - they could have additional testimonies that could ruin Ron's claims," Gross said.