Missing girl's relatives approached authorities last month

"The great-grandmother said her son had cut Rose off from her," Nat'l Council for the Child director tells 'Post'

rose murder suspects court 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
rose murder suspects court 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Four-year-old Rose Pizem from Netanya has been missing since May. On Tuesday, it was disclosed that both the Israeli and the French sides of her family asked authorities to check on her welfare on July 23. "The great-grandmother in Israel, [Vivian], the mother of Rose's stepfather, turned to us and told us that she was worried about Rose, whom she raised for a while. She said her son [Ronnie Ron, who is also Rose's biological grandfather] had cut Rose off from her and that he didn't let her see Rose," Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, director of the National Council for the Child, told The Jerusalem Post. The great-grandmother's inquiry continued with a long description of "the odd and complicated structure of Rose's family," Kadman said. "Not once during this conversation did the suspicion come up that something illegal was going on, neither violent behavior nor - of course - murder," Kadman said. "We got the impression that this is a family dispute and that both grandmothers [Vivian is actually the girl's great-grandmother] suggested that Rose may have been sent to some sort of a boarding institute, and they told us to check institutions in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jaffa," he said. On the same day, the Council for the Child informed the Netanya Welfare Department about the case. "We thought the story so exceptional and odd, we thought it was worth a check," Kadman said. Varda Triser, head of the city's Welfare Department, told the Post that Rose's great-grandmother came to them on the same day she turned to the Council for the Child. "She asked us to locate Rose, but we understood that it was a family dispute and not the tragedy that it turned out to be. This is why we told her that she needed to turn to the family court to ask for a visitation arrangement," Triser said. At the same time, they asked Vivian to file a complaint with the police, Triser said. "We asked her for Rose's identification number or passport number but she said she didn't have any of them. We clarified to her that she was the only one who could file a compliant with the police because she could provide identifying details on Rose." Triser said that after a few days the Welfare Department contacted Vivian to check if she had gone to the police. "She said she was afraid of her son. We kept calling her day after day until August 3, when she finally went to the police with someone we sent to accompany her." On August 4 the French Embassy turned to the Netanya Municipality in an attempt to find out the child's condition. The embassy acted following a request made by Rose's grandmother and biological father in France. Rose's biological father raised her in France until less than a year ago, when Rose's mother, Marie, received custody over her and brought her to Israel to live with the girl's grandfather and stepfather. "We asked the French Embassy for Rose's passport number in order to check if she was sent away from Israel, but they didn't respond to our request," Triser said. Finally, on August 6, two social workers went to Rose's home in Netanya. "We realized that Rose was not registered at any pre-school in the city. The social workers arrived at the residence but no one opened the door. They spoke to the doorman and he told them that the family has three daughters but that he hadn't seen the older daughter [Rose] for at least a month. Only then we started to realize that something much more serious was going on, and we contacted the police again on the same day and asked them to pay the family a visit. "One of the social workers didn't let go and kept calling the police all day long until they sent a police patrol vehicle to the house later that night," Triser said. Rose's parents were arrested on August 12 and the two younger daughters were sent to a foster family. Both Kadman and Netanya's Welfare Department believe they did all they could given the circumstances. "In retrospect, even if the police and the Welfare Department had acted faster, it wouldn't have changed a lot because as I understand it, Rose was last seen in May this year," Kadman said. "I can't understand how a child disappears and no one notices and reports. Israeli society has become alienated and uncaring. This is not America or Austria, children do not normally disappear without someone noticing or asking anything," Kadman said.