Police on Wednesday revealed details from the investigation into the murder of a woman whose dismembered body was found in a suitcase in Tel Aviv
over the weekend.
Eidan Damirhan, a Turkish citizen has been arrested on suspicion of murdering Ilona Denise, 46, a Romanian
national who worked in Israel, and dismembering her body. He has been remanded in custody for an additional 12 days.
Damirhan, 47, had been working in construction in Israel
for several years and was romantically involved with Denise. It is suspected he murdered her after the two got into an argument over money issues.
Denise and Damirhan. 'A couple of lovebirds' (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
Denise arrived in Israel in May 2005, leaving a daughter behind, and worked as a home nurse for an elderly woman in Haifa. When the woman passed away in 2012, she began caring for another woman in Petah Tikva. About a year ago she began dating Damirhan.
House of murder victim in Hatikva neighborhood (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
According to the investigation, Damirhan strangled Denise to death and found a suitcase with which to dispose of the body. In order to fit her in the suitcase, he cut her body into parts using a kitchen knife.
He left the suitcase near the Hahagana
railway station and dumped other body parts in nearby trash cans. The head has yet to be found.
Scene where suitcase with body found (Photo: Eli Senyor)
Police claim that Damirhan linked himself to the murder during
questioning and showed police where he dumped the body.
Police contacted the victim's family in Romania through Interpol.
Attorneys from the Public Defender's Office assigned to the case said their client denies murdering the victim. "There was an argument between himself and the deceased. She injured herself while our client tried to defend himself and make her drop the hammer. She hit her head from the fall and died. The dismembering of the body is a separate event which will be investigated by the police. He was petrified and shocked at the death of his partner."
A police officer said at the hearing that investigators cannot verify whether the victim sustained a hit in the head as her head has yet to be found. "He claims she tried to attack him with a hammer and when he defended himself she took a blow to the head."
According to the officer, when asked why he did not report the death to the police the suspect "claimed that had he done so, the police would not have believed him and he therefore decided to cut her body to dispose of evidence. On Sunday he booked a Tuesday flight to Turkey. He stayed in Kfar Kassem and was on his way to collect his passport and plane ticket at the time of the arrest."
Those who knew the couple were shocked to hear of the murder. "He was a quiet and responsible man who never complained about anything. They looked like lovebirds, always walking around holding hands," said Eric, the realtor who helped the couple find their south Tel Aviv apartment.
"He was the last person I would suspect of being the murderer," he added.
It is believed the Damirhan paid the rent fees even though he himself only stayed there over weekends.
Itay Blumenthal, Omri Efraim, and Gilad Morag contributed to this report
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