Photo: CD Bank
Violent murder (Illsutration)
Photo: CD Bank

Pennsylvania: Israeli professor probed over wife's death

Police search office of Rafael Robb, ex-Israeli economics professor at University of Pennsylvania, as part of investigation into bludgeoning to death of his wife, Ellen

Authorities investigating the bludgeoning death of a professor's wife have searched the man's office at the University of Pennsylvania. Economics professor Rafael Robb, who is originally from Israel, denies having anything to do with Ellen Robb's death, his attorney said Thursday.


"He is hopeful, as am I, that (authorities) are continuing to pursue all leads and not just focusing solely on him," Lawyer Francis Genovese said. "It's not unusual in these investigations that they first start off closest to home."


Ellen Robb, 49, was found beaten to death December 22 in the kitchen of their house just outside Philadelphia. Though estranged, the couple lived together with their 12-year-old daughter.


Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor on Thursday described it as "an exceedingly bloody crime scene."


Authorities are looking into reports that Ellen Robb had initiated divorce proceedings.


"We have not excluded the husband as being the killer," Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor said. "We are trying to determine who would have a motive. The divorce context can be a motive for murder."


Scene staged to look like burglary?

The professor called police Dec. 22 to say he found his wife's body after returning home from work. A window in a door had been smashed, but Castor said several pieces of evidence led authorities to believe the scene was staged to look like a burglary. Rafael Robb told investigators he last saw his wife alive before driving to work.


Investigators have taken forensic evidence from the Robb's home - including computers and financial records - and searched the couple's cars and the professor's office at Penn, Castor said.


Castor said investigators were seeking the public's help, specifically people who could discuss professor Robb's "Personality, his habits, the way he interacts with people."


A Penn spokesman referred calls to police.


פרסום ראשון: 12.29.06, 09:38
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