Police: 'He killed for the sake of killing'

Confessed serial killer Yihya Farhan held for murder of Dana Bennet, three others going back to 1994.

Yihye Farhan bennet killer 248.88 ch2 (photo credit: Channel 2)
Yihye Farhan bennet killer 248.88 ch2
(photo credit: Channel 2)
Nearly six years after Dana Bennet went missing and a week after her remains were found, police disclosed on Tuesday that she had been killed in cold blood by a 32-year-old father of four. Details surrounding the grizzly murder of the American-Israeli teenager near Tiberias in 2003, were cleared for publication on Tuesday afternoon, and included the identity of her killer - Adwan Yihya Farhan from the Galilee village of Wadi Hamam. Bennet, 18, disappeared in the early morning of August 1, 2003, after finishing her late-night waitress shift at a restaurant on the Tiberias boardwalk. "Dana Bennet was kidnapped and murdered - but she was not raped," Dep.-Cmdr. Avi Elgrissi said during the press conference police held to disclose the findings of the investigation. Police said Farhan, who is already in prison for the rape and attempted kidnapping of an Australian tourist last year, had also confessed to three other murders over the past 14 years, and that he had beaten all four victims to death. Investigators, who labeled Farhan a serial killer, said there was no apparent motive for his actions outside of pure blood lust. "He killed for the sake of killing," Elgrissi said. "This has been a very tough case." Farhan has confessed to kidnapping and murdering Bennet on the night of her disappearance, and to kidnapping and murdering 27-year-old Czech tourist Sylvia Molorova at Nahal Tzalmon, near Tiberias, five months earlier. Farhan also confessed to murdering 24-year-old Aharon Simahov, his cellmate in the Tiberias police station, while he (Farhan) was being held for questioning on an unrelated charge in 2004, because, as Farhan put it, Simahov had "annoyed" him. In that case, Farhan hung Simahov's corpse from the ceiling of their cell and told guards the man had committed suicide, which had been the accepted cause of death until Farhan's recent confession. In addition, he admitted to murdering a 40-year-old male acquaintance in 1994 on the bank of the Jordan River, near the Arik Bridge, when he was 18. Police confirmed that human remains had been found in the vicinity in 1994, but were unable to confirm their identity. Also during his interrogation, Farhan revealed that after killing Bennet, he raped a resident of Tiberias and tried to murder her before she managed to escape. He also told his interrogators that he had tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to poison one of his sisters in what was supposed to be an "honor killing." Police said Farhan had been a suspect early on during their investigation of Bennet's disappearance, but that after lengthy questioning in 2003, he convinced investigators that he was not connected to the case and was released. The investigation was put on hold after the last round of searches in February 2008, but was restarted the following August. For months investigators worked with few leads, before receiving a tip last month that indicated Bennet had been murdered on the day she disappeared, and that Farhan was linked to the case. That tip led investigators to a 22-year-old immigrant from the former Soviet Union who had married Farhan and converted to Islam. She admitted to officers that she witnessed him kill Bennet with his bare hands. She also told police the area in which the body had been hidden, eventually leading to the retrieval of Bennet's remains. The woman, who was 16 at the time of Bennet's death and is now considered an accomplice to the murder, also told investigators that she and Farhan had met Bennet near a bridge as she was getting out of a taxi late at night. Farhan sent the woman over to persuade Bennet to enter their car, after Farhan told her he was a hotel owner looking for new employees. According to the woman's testimony, Bennet only realized something was wrong after Farhan's car turned onto a dirt road near Wadi Hamam. She tried to resist, but Farhan dragged her out of the car and beat her to death in an olive grove. Farhan told investigators it was his accomplice who pushed him to kill Bennet, because she was involved with a satanic cult, Channel 1 reported on Tuesday. The woman also said she had been with Farhan when he murdered Molorova in March 2003, but that she was no longer in contact with him. With the location the woman had given them, police used aerial photography from the past six years to determine changes in the topography of the area. At the press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Elgrissi told reporters that they had noticed "huge differences" in the field where Bennet was said to be buried, and began canvassing the area. Her remains were found shortly thereafter. Last week, investigators arrived at Farhan's cell at the Eshel Prison, near Beersheba, and told him they had sufficient evidence to prove that he was Bennet's killer. Farhan reportedly broke down and began cooperating with the detectives, implicating himself in the other murders. "This is not a man, this is an animal," Bennet's mother, Vicky, said after the police press conference on Tuesday. "But I'm glad that Dana's case could at least lead to the unraveling of the other mysteries and crimes perpetrated by the suspect."