A teenager with a promising future and a young man who had fallen through
society’s cracks were the pictures that emerged on Wednesday of the two victims
of an apparent drug overdose, who were found in a central Jerusalem apartment on
Rauf Zienelov, 21, and Lee Vatkin, 16, were discovered by
Vatkin’s father around midnight on Monday, lying lifeless on a mattress inside
an apartment on Tiberias Street in the capital’s Nahlaot
Vatkin had been looking for his daughter throughout the
afternoon, after a number of calls to her cellphone had gone
After scouring the streets for hours, he arrived at the
apartment where Zienelov and Lee Vatkin had moved in together only three
previously, and began knocking on the door.
When no one answered, Vatkin
went around to the side of the apartment and peered through a window,
Police and a Magen David Adom response unit were called,
but it was too late. Zienelov and Lee Vatkin were pronounced dead at the
and an initial investigation showed that they had passed away some hours
they were discovered.
According to police, the two had possibly been using
a batch of methadone – primarily used by recovering heroin addicts –
been cut with a type of poison.
Their bodies were transferred to the L.
Greenberg National Institute of Forensic Medicine in Abu Kabir. Final
results are expected within the coming weeks.
Zienelov’s father and
grandmother, who immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union some
ago, expressed their deep sadness over his death on Tuesday, and told
that while he had experienced difficulties integrating into Israeli
they hadn’t realized the extent of his drug use.
“He was a good kid,”
Zienelov’s father, Bachram, who lives in Jerusalem’s Katamon
“I raised him alone, and he was my only child. He liked
computers and playing the drums, which he excelled at.” But Rauf
led a turbulent life, dropping out of school in the 10th grade and
trouble with the law, conflicts that included drug offenses. He did not
His grandmother, Ludmilla, expressed her shock as well on
Tuesday, telling reporters that she had seen her grandson only a few
and “he seemed to be happy.” “I saw him last Thursday, and there was no
that anything was wrong with him,” she said.
“He was smiling.” But
Ludmilla said that after her grandson had left, he had called her to say
wouldn’t be able to come to his father’s house over the weekend, and
grandmother to pass the message along.
“That was the last time I heard
from him,” she said.
Zienelov was buried on Tuesday, with his father,
grandmother and a handful of friends in attendance.
Vatkin, on the other
hand, came from an Anglo-Saxon family in the upscale Jerusalem
Baka. She had been accepted to a prestigious high school but stopped
nearly two years ago after one of her teachers began to suspect her drug
Vatkin’s family has repeatedly refused to speak with the press, but
her friends have set up a Facebook page in her name and writing various
of her online.
“She loved life,” a friend wrote of Vatkin. “She took
advantage of every moment, was as optimistic as possible, spontaneous,
whatever came to mind.” A family friend who asked to remain anonymous
she was “heartbroken” over Vatkin’s passing, and that her “thoughts and
were with the family during this difficult time.” “I had known her since
born,” the family friend said.
“I was at her bat mitzva, and I had hoped
to dance at her wedding.
This is truly a tragic ending to the life of a
very beautiful and lovely girl.”