Police suspect murder; twelfth-grader found dead in Western Galilee.
By REBECCA ANNA STOIL, JPOST.COM STAFF
Hours after 18-year-old Ma'ayan Ben-Horin's body was discovered on Wednesday, police were alerted to the scene of another suspected murder in Haifa on Wednesday night.
Police arrived at a house in the northern city's Hadar neighborhood following a report that a neighbor heard the scream of a woman before seeing her minutes prior to her death. The body of a young woman had shown signs of violence, causing police to suspect criminal activity which could have led to her murder.
An MDA team that arrived at the scene was unable to resuscitate her and a doctor pronounced her death shortly after midnight.
Earlier Wednesday, the murder of Ben-Horin shook the Galilee, barely one month after the murder of Ta'ir Rada, and once again, police remained with more questions than answers in the face of growing criticism.
Ben-Horin, a twelfth-grade pupil from the small Galilee community of Yuvalim, disappeared on Monday afternoon after she was last seen in the Western Galilee village of Kaukab. A teacher from her Kibbutz Alonim high school gave her a ride after class, and dropped her off - at her request - at a gas station at the entrance to Kaukab to buy cigarettes.
According to accounts, the teen managed to buy a pack of cigarettes and may have even held a short conversation with a friend via cell phone before disappearing without a trace.
After the stop in Kaukab, Ben-Horin had been scheduled to visit the nearby "Halav Im Haruah" Farm, where she had hoped to work between her graduation and her upcoming draft to the IDF. After their daughter did not return home or contact her friends, Ben-Horin's parents Rivka and Avri began to call her acquaintances to try and find her, but to no avail.
Police began to search for Ben-Horin on Tuesday, and continued the searches in greater force at 7:30 on Wednesday morning. After approximately five hours of combing the Western Galilee hills, police officers found Ben-Horin's body between Yodfat and Kaukab, bearing signs of a vicious attack.
Police said that they were planning to send Ben-Horin's body for an autopsy to gather more evidence about the murder.
Friends said that Ma'ayan was a good student and loved art. An active member of Hanoar Haoved Ve'halomed (Youth Working and Studying), the Israeli branch of the Habonim Dror youth movement, Ma'ayan had only recently filled out her "manila," a list of preferences for IDF jobs following her draft.
Friends of the family complained Wednesday that the police had dragged their feet in the initial, crucial stage of their investigation. They said that police had decided that Ben-Horin had "gone missing on her own accord" before her body was found. But Misgav Station Commander Dep.-Cmdr. Ilan Haroush emphasized that immediately after hearing about the girl's disappearance, police began searches.
Police said Wednesday that they believed that Ben-Horin was murdered on the same day as her disappearance. They said that they were investigating all possible motives and could not rule out terror as a possibility.
Ben-Horin's murder became the fourth recent murder that remains unsolved within the Northern District. In contrast to the Rada murder case, however, the police quickly requested - and were granted - a gag order blocking publication of any facts related to the investigation, including any comments made by the victim's parents or friends.
Within twenty-four hours after their daughter's disappearance, the Ben-Horin family hired the services of a private detective agency, which will serve the family throughout the investigation.
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