For 7 days, Luba waited for Karin to return; then came the knock on the door

Luba Vernikov said her daughter Karin promised the music festival at Kibbutz Re'im 'would be her last party'; she chronicled the anguish of not knowing her daughter's fate in posts on Facebook until she was crushed by news that her body had been found
Roy Rubinstein|
Luba Vernikov, a music teacher from Rishon Lezion, faced an excruciating seven-day wait, hoping her daughter Karin, 22, who had attended the party at Kibbutz Re'im, to return home. Caught between despair and hope, she tirelessly searched for any fragment of information that might shed light on her daughter's fate. After a week of agonizing uncertainty, on Saturday evening, she received the heartbreaking news.
<< Follow Ynetnews on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok >>
More stories:
"After the kiddush, there was a knock on my door," Luba told Ynet. Despite the looming dread, she clung to a glimmer of hope, wondering if perhaps there might be some positive news. "We had company, and together we prayed for her. They were all dressed in white, almost like angels. Ten minutes after they left, another knock interrupted my thoughts. I assumed they had forgotten something, but when I opened the door, I was met with officers standing solemnly with bowed heads. I asked why they came, and they explained that they had performed a DNA test."
3 View gallery
לובה ורניק אמה של קרין
לובה ורניק אמה של קרין
Luba Vernikov holds a photo of her murdered daughter, Karin
(Photo: Yariv Katz)
This message marked the end of a week filled with anticipation and hope, during which Luba held onto the belief that her daughter might still come back. Her experience mirrors that of hundreds of families, many of whom are still waiting for a message that could shed light on the fate of their missing loved ones.

A week of hope

On October 9, Luba posted on Facebook: "This morning weighs heavily on my heart, although I maintain hope and faith that my beloved daughter will return home safely. I kindly ask all my friends not to visit me, as talking to people and seeing others has become incredibly difficult for me. I hold deep respect and love for everyone, but this is my reality. I'm utterly crushed."
Later, she posted: "It's been nearly 50 hours since we last heard from our dear daughter. My heart aches, but my faith remains steadfast. She will come home. She must. We await your return, our beloved."
That evening, she hosted a gathering of women to perform the ritual of hafrashat challah, in which a portion of the dough designated for the priests is separated out and is meant to bring God's blessing , holding onto hope for her daughter's safe return. She conveyed her deep appreciation. "My heartfelt gratitude to all those who came to stand by us, offering strength, support and encouragement. Your presence means the world to us, and we don't take it lightly. I love each one of you and hope for nothing but goodness for us all."
On October 10th, she wrote: "We're now entering the fourth day of utter uncertainty. There's not a shred of information about my daughter's whereabouts. My heart is shattered, and my soul cries out. Despite it all, I hold onto hope and faith that she'll return home soon, and we'll embrace her together. Amen and Amen."
On October 11th, she pleaded: "My love, please come home! We are waiting for you! We love you! It's been five long days since we last heard from you. Our hope persists that you'll return home safe and sound. God willing, we'll be able to hold you close very soon."
3 View gallery
לובה ורניק אמה של קרין
לובה ורניק אמה של קרין
Karin did not return home to her parents
(Photo: Yariv Katz)
The following day, Luba remained steadfast. "Today marks the sixth day of being apart from my beloved Karin, and there's no sign," she wrote in a post. "These have been days of unbearable anguish, my heart shattered into pieces. If anyone possesses even the slightest information about our Karin, please come forward. We believe we'll find her safe and sound soon. Please join us in praying for her swift return. My heart and soul cry out. We still hold on to our unwavering belief and hope that we'll embrace her tightly very soon. My dear, you mean everything to me; you must come back home". Alongside this, she shared a picture of herself with her two daughters, captioning it, "the essence of my life."
On that day, Luba acknowledged the overwhelming support and love she was receiving, which provided her with strength. Later, she made a plea: "Please refrain from coming to visit me for help and support; a virtual hug is sufficient. Every knock on the door and ring of the bell startles me profoundly. I hope you understand; it's not personal. My heart is heavy; I'm utterly shattered. With God's grace, Karin will come back home. We'll reunite and celebrate joyously. Amen. I love you all." She also shared a video of a relative's television interview narrating Karin's story, writing: "I hope this contributes to finding our beloved daughter."
That evening, she pleaded: "I urge everyone to provide even the slightest assistance in the search for my daughter Karin, who has been missing since 7:00 a.m. on Saturday. I'm struggling to obtain any information or leads from anyone. I believe she might still be in hiding. Please help me in searching for her and bringing her back home. Perhaps someone has a connection in the army or the police? Can you guide me to someone who can assist? I feel utterly helpless and powerless. My heart aches, and my soul cries out in despair."
At noon on Friday, she wrote: "We stand united and victorious; we will bring all our loved ones home – Amen and Amen." However, a few hours later, she sadly revealed, "My Karin is no longer among us. She was killed."
The following day, approximately 24 hours after the devastating news, Luba wrote: "My beloved, stay in my heart until my last breath. Life without you is unrecognizable, my heart shattered. I find comfort in my elder daughter and cherished grandson, surrounded by the love of my sister, brother, nieces, friends and close companions. For you, my Karin, I will remain resilient. May you find peace, and may you come to me in my dreams."

'She wasn't eager to attend the party'

Luba told Ynet about the emotional challenges she faced during Karin's funeral, highlighting the heart-wrenching experience of being granted only a brief glimpse of her daughter for the last time. "I saw her, but she didn't resemble my beautiful Karin," she said with sorrow. "What did they do to her? What did they do?"
At the time of her tragic passing, Karin was 22 years old, a young woman who had excelled in her studies and successfully served in the Adjutant Corps of the IDF. Just a month before her tragic passing, she had returned from an adventurous trip to South America, a journey shared with the very people she had attended the ill-fated party with.
3 View gallery
קרין ורניקוב
קרין ורניקוב
Karin Vernikov
"She wasn't eager to attend the party", the mother recalled, "but since the entire group from South America was going, she decided to join, not without promising me that it would be her final party. 'You won't have to worry about me anymore', she assured me, 'this is the last party'. Sadly, her words came true. I can't help but blame myself for not expressing my own discomfort, hoping she wouldn't go. Yet, I never had the faintest inkling that something like this could happen."
Her parents were aware that the party was in a kibbutz near the Gaza Strip, yet they weren't alarmed until the rocket warning sirens wailed in Rishon LeZion that morning. "I called her," the mother recalls, "and although she understood I was in a state of hysteria, she reassured me not to worry, mentioning she was on her way back. But my anxiety didn't subside; she didn't pick up my subsequent calls. Instead, she shared a location near Kibbutz Alumim, reporting that she had abandoned her car. At around 7:15 a.m., I called again, and she cried out, 'Mom, there are many terrorists, help me'. After that call, there was nothing. Her phone died around 6 p.m., marking the beginning of my nightmare."
"I scoured all the hospitals, checking among the dead; we even clung to the hope that she might have been abducted," she recounted. "However, when we were told about (the death of) her friend, it dawned on me. Karin is not the kind of person who would abandon someone. I held onto the hope that perhaps she was in hiding or had been kidnapped, but then came the knock on the door."
The commenter agrees to the privacy policy of Ynet News and agrees not to submit comments that violate the terms of use, including incitement, libel and expressions that exceed the accepted norms of freedom of speech.