Teenage girl missing since 2003; hundreds helped in searches; court puts gag order on probe details.
By YAAKOV LAPPIN
Shortly after police announced on Monday that they discovered the corpse of Dana Bennet, her mother, Vicky, told reporters that she hoped her daughter's case would give hope to the parents of other missing children.
"This is no consolation," Bennet's mother, Vicky, said, but she emphasized that she "would still like to express my appreciation of the police's activity since the event took place. I was constantly updated on any development. I know they didn't leave the case and worked over it day and night.
"I hope this case will strengthen and give hope to parents of missing children, that even after many years their mysteries will be solved," she said.
The 18-year-old Israeli-American woman vanished after finishing a work shift at a Tiberias restaurant six years ago.
Forensic tests conducted at the L. Greenberg Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir confirmed that the remains were Bennet's, Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
"Her family has been notified. Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances [of her death]," Rosenfeld said.
A wide-ranging, court-ordered media ban prevents further details from being published on the investigation.
Bennet's mother lives in Tiberias, while her father resides in the US. Born in Chicago in 1985, Bennet grew up in Los Angeles with her father. In 1999, she moved to Israel to study and work at Kibbutz Tirat Zvi, in the Beit She'an Valley.
At 1 a.m. on August 1, 2003, Bennet left the Arzei Levanon (Cedars of Lebanon) restaurant after work and boarded a taxi van to her aunt's home in Tiberias. She was last seen getting out of the taxi and walking toward the home.
Since her disappearance, police have carried out several search efforts, aided by civilians.
In 2005, a leaflet sent by an Israeli Arab group calling itself "Free Galilee" was sent to The Associated Press claiming that Bennet had been kidnapped. The group demanded the release of 1,000 Palestinian security prisoners in exchange for information on the young woman.
In 2007, Northern Police head Cmdr. Shimon Koren said searches would be renewed, but those efforts failed to turn up new information.
Bennet's remains were finally found by the Amakim Police's Central Unit.
In the year before Bennet's disappearance, a medical problem in her brain was discovered that caused her to pass out and left her unable to recall what occurred while she was unconscious. She eventually underwent a lengthy operation to treat the condition, and recovered. However, she was required to take pills daily to prevent a repeat of the attacks.
var cont = `Stay Informed
As the war against Hamas unfolds, our unwavering newsroom remains committed to covering Israel's most profound crisis.
Sign up for our newsletter to get real-time news and in-depth analysis from our top reporters.