By YAAKOV LAPPIN
Evidence materialized on Sunday suggesting that the six members of the Oshrenko family found stabbed to death in their Rishon Lezion apartment the previous morning were murdered by a non-relative.
Police had earlier speculated that one of the deceased family members found inside the home had killed the other five before committing suicide.
But that assessment faded as police began receiving forensic evidence, including an autopsy that showed that the six had all been stabbed repeatedly and had their throats slashed.
Police now tend to believe that one or more murderers entered the apartment, stabbed the six in cold blood, and set fire to various points in the home in effort to cover up the crimes before fleeing.
Israel Radio reported that there were signs of a struggle found on the body of 32-year-old Dmitri Oshrenko, reinforcing the theory that the attacker was an outsider.
Police now believe that at least one man who may have been familiar with the family entered the home early on Saturday, murdering 56-year-old Ludmilla Oshrenko, her granddaughter, three-year-old Revital Oshrenko, and baby Netanel Oshrenko.
According to one theory, the killer then waited for Ludmilla's husband, Edward, to return home with his daughter-in-law, 28-year-old Tatyana, before pouncing on both of them with a knife.
Dmitri may have been the last one to return to the apartment, where he was set upon, and where he fought his attacker, before succumbing to him.
Detectives are attempting to determine how the murderer left behind a locked front door, and why there were no signs of forced entry - a possible clue that the murderer knew the family.
A neighbor placed a call to emergency services to report a fire in the apartment shortly after 5 a.m., leading police to place the time of the murders at between four and five in the morning on Saturday.
But the Central District's Central Unit has so far been unable to answer the question of motive.
One theory is that a member of the family became entangled in a dispute with lethal underworld kingpins, who had demanded extortion or another form of payment. The Oshrenko family owns a delicatessen near their home in Rishon Lezion, as well as a restaurant in the city. Dmitri Oshrenko also ran the Shannon pub in Ashdod.
All three businesses were frequented by Russian Israelis, while the restaurant had hosted political events affiliated with the Israel Beitenu Party.
Police officers raided the Oshrenko-owned Dagan delicatessen during the afternoon to search for documents that could reveal clues about extortion attempts or other possible business-related disputes.
Dozens of officers questioned local residents, rummaged through garbage cans around the home, and scoured the area for CCTV footage that could shed light on the identity of a possible suspect.
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.