Police arrest suspect in cold case murder of Jerusalem teen in 1998

The suspect's DNA was extracted from a sample of his spit on the sidewalk.

Crime scene [illustrative] (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Crime scene [illustrative]
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court cleared for publication on Tuesday that police in the capital have arrested a murder suspect in a cold case from 1998, after DNA and other evidence reportedly link the man to the killing of teenager Noa Eyal 16 years ago.
The man, a 38-year-old Jewish resident of the city, is married with two kids and was arrested in late October.
He has denied the charges against him.
The man came into the sights of law enforcement about a year ago, when a relative of his was arrested by police on an unrelated crime. A DNA sample taken from the relative was shown as being similar to one taken from the murder scene. Police then began to work on relatives who may or may not fit the profile they made for the killer, eventually honing in on the suspect.
Last month, while the suspect was under police surveillance, he reportedly spit on a sidewalk in Jerusalem and the sample was taken and matched to the DNA from the murder scene.
Police said that the suspect’s cellphone was one of those that on the night of Eyal’s murder were in the area of the Davidka Square, where she was last seen.
The suspect’s attorney issued an appeal to Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, requesting that his name remain under gag order. As a result, his identity cannot be revealed. His attorney Yehuda Shushan told the press on Tuesday that his client has denied ever meeting Eyal or being involved in her murder.
Eyal was 17 years old when she disappeared late one night in February 1998. She and her friend Eldad Bribrom had left a movie theater in downtown Jerusalem and Bribrom told detectives that after he got on a bus at Davidka Square, he saw Eyal run to a different bus than the one she was waiting for. Police later interviewed a cabdriver downtown who told them that he saw a girl getting into a white car, believed to be a Ford Escort, with tinted windows and several bumper stickers on the back, including one for the Golani Brigade.
The next day, Eyal’s body was found raped and murdered in a forest in the Ramot neighborhood of the city.
Since that night, the case has been a major focus of Jerusalem investigators, who have invested countless man hours and interviewed hundreds of people of interest in an attempt to crack the case.
When the development was first announced last month, representative of Eyal’s family put out a statement saying they are very excited and nervous about the reports and that “we call for supporting the police and allowing them to do their work thoroughly so that the truth will see the light of day.”