Murdered Ashkelon girl laid to rest

Murdered Ashkelon girl l

leah drenkin 88 (photo credit: )
leah drenkin 88
(photo credit: )
Hundreds of relatives and friends of 15-year-old Leah Drenkin gathered at an Ashkelon cemetery on Thursday afternoon to pay their last respects to the murdered teenager. Police believe Nikolai Dorosham, 26, strangled Drenkin in a clearing on Hill 69, near Nitzanim, early on Wednesday, because she refused to have sexual intercourse with him. He has been arrested and charged with murder. Drenkin's grandmother, tearful and dazed, crawled on the grave, as dozens of Drenkin's sobbing friends from high school gathered around, wearing black T-shirts. Her father shook as he scattered earth over his daughter's grave. "She was a flower that was cut down," Esther Oren, principal of the high school Drenkin attended, told The Jerusalem Post after the funeral. "Every parent would want a girl like her. She was social, polite, she excelled in her studies. And she was pretty. The teachers are in shock," Oren said. Psychologists have been called to the school to offer support to Drenkin's schoolmates. "We do not live in a normal world. Leah, I think of what you went through during those terrible hours. I am sorry we could not save you," Oren told the mourners. "Just when the whole of the nation of Israel is supposed to focus on unconditional love ahead of Yom Kippur, we get this news," said Eli Efrah, head of Ashkelon's Burial Society. "This is a tragedy for the city of Ashkelon, and for all people with blood running through their veins. We have enough trouble from outside of the country. We don't need it inside." He added, "Some people say that because of the [Russian] origin of the murderer, our hands did not spill this blood. But who gives legitimacy to the idea of letting 15-year-old girls do what they want? This tragedy must set off many red lights in our heads." A few hours earlier, at the Ashdod Magistrate's Court, Judge Gilat Shelav ordered the murder suspect held in custody for 12 more days. A sullen Dorosham sat in court with his feet and hands cuffed, listening to an interpreter translate the proceedings. His parents sat silently on the front-row bench. They tried to communicate with their son as he was led out of court, but he merely shook his head and muttered a few words in Russian. In the hours following Drenkin's disappearance, police had launched a massive ground search, backed by a helicopter. Dorosham was first called as a witness when police learned that he had driven a car in which Drenkin and her friends were passengers. The friends were dropped off during the night, and Dorosham and Drenkin drove on to a clearing outside of Ashkelon, police said. Dorosham then allegedly attempted to forcefully have sexual intercourse with Drenkin, and choked her when she refused, killing her. "He didn't mean to do it," Drenkin's lawyer, Gil Ba'ayer, said outside of the court. Some reports speculated that Drenkin was intoxicated on the night of her death, but her sister, Sima, said she did not drink alcohol. F.-Sgt. Ronen Firman, from the Lachish Police subdistrict's central unit, said Dorosham had become "entangled in a web of his own lies" as police realized that their witness was actually a murder suspect. "At first he denied any link to her disappearance. But we then confronted him with our findings. In subsequent interrogations, he confessed and led us to the body," Firman said. "He reenacted the murder for us this morning." "We believe he tried to hide the body, moving it from the murder scene to another location," Firman said. It remains unclear whether police will also charge Dorosham with rape or attempted rape. They are awaiting a report from the autopsy performed on Thursday.