Police: Ex-husband hired gardener to dig hole days before wife's murder

David Chaim said hole was meant to level ground in ex-wife’s backyard.

Murder victim Ofira Chaim (photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
Murder victim Ofira Chaim
(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
David Chaim, the ex-husband of the late Ofira Chaim, hired a gardener to dig up a hole in her garden while she was away on vacation, days before he murdered her on June 20 outside her home in Tel Mond, according to new details released by police on Thursday.
Earlier this month, police found the woman’s body in the backyard of her home in the usually peaceful town of 12,000 near Netanya after her son-in-law reported he had found a suspicious hole in the garden, two weeks after she was reported missing.
The police investigation found that Chaim, who has confessed to the murder, hired an Eritrean migrant who he sometimes employed for gardening work, to dig a hole while his ex-wife was touring Georgia. He told the gardener he needed to fix a water leak.
The former couple lived next door to each other in a family compound. When Ofira, 57, returned to Israel and asked David, 60, about the hole, he said he was leveling out a slope in the garden.
Investigators have determined that around 4 p.m. on the day of the murder, David went to Ofira’s house and called her out to the yard. He asked her to allow him to make a path between his home and Ofira’s house to facilitate access for his elderly mother living in a housing unit adjacent to Ofira’s home, and to allow him to put a solar panel on her roof for his mother.
When Ofira refused his requests, he removed a rope from his pocket and strangled her while pushing her to the ground, the investigation found. He then dragged her to the hole, dug it even deeper and buried her there, police say.
The investigation also revealed that the suspect smashed the victim’s cellphone with a hammer. He then opened her purse, removed and cut up her credit cards, and threw the broken phone and purse into a trashcan in town.
The suspect confessed to the murder and reenacted it for the investigators.
On Thursday morning, upon the completion of the investigation, a statement was filed against the suspect regarding the police’s intention to file an indictment against him for murder, and to remand him in custody until the end of the legal proceedings.