Rose. Where is she?
Great grandmother Vivian
Photo: Ido Erez
Search in Yarkon River
Photo: Yaron Brener
Rose as a baby

Search for missing child expanded

Dozens of police officers take part in search for four-year-old Rose Ron, believed to have been murdered by her grandfather. Divers look for her body in Yarkon River, while search crews also dispatched to Netanya, where grandfather said he beat her to death

The Knesset Committee on the Rights of the Child, chaired by MK Nadia Hilou, has announced it will hold an emergency session during the current recess to debate the matter of the missing four-year-old girl who was apparently murdered by her grandfather.


"We will discuss whether this murder could have been prevented, murder is a warning sign for all of society. We will examine possible legislation and draw up conclusions to prevent such horrors," said Hilou.


The search for four-year-old Rose Ron, who is believed to have been murdered by her grandfather, was expanded to Netanya on Wednesday, as more police personnel were pulled onto the case.


So far, the search for the missing child focused on the Yarkon River in Tel Aviv, but new information prompted the police to expand the physical scope of the search.  It is believed that river currents may have swept the suitcase further than police had originally calculated. 



The search in Netanya focused on the Beit Goldmintz area, where Ronny Ron said he beat his granddaughter to death, causing her to lose consciousness. A search was also conducted in the nearby beach.


On Tuesday, the court extended the remand of Rose's mother and grandfather, who are romantically involved and are both suspected of killing her.  At this point, police said have not actively tried to pit the two against each other. 


Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen visited the search site in Tel Aviv on Wednesday afternoon and said the police "will not spare any effort and will move every stone until (Rose) is brought to burial.


"We are hoping for a development in the coming hours and are focusing on the main search site, which is the Yarkon River," he added.

Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen at search site (Photo: Yaron Brener)


Chief Superintendent Avi Neuman, a Central District commander, told Ynet on Tuesday evening that "the search will be conducted in additional places in the Sharon region where the suspected had been spotted."


According to Neuman, the search will be expanded significantly, with dozens of police officers taking part in it.


"The problem with the Yarkon (River) is that the water is muddy with currents," he said. "We will continue with the robot and divers. If the robot discovers a finding, the diver gets into the water. We must continue searching."


Police sources said that more professional divers, specializing in such searches, arrived in the Yarkon River on Wednesday. Dogs are accompanying the searchers along the river, looking for findings which may lead to Rose's body.


The police are considering draining some 200 meters (656 feet) of the river in order to locate the child's remains. Contractors who toured the search site estimated that such a move would cost NIS 350,000 (about $98,500).


Rose with her grandmother Vivian


Another idea raised to improve the search's efficiency was to build a dam in the search area in order to stop the flow and be certain beyond any doubt that the body is in the water. This option, however, will likely not be used as it is overcomplicated.


Police officials have said that it was unclear why the Navy refused to help, despite being asked to several times. Sources in the police stressed that the Navy has special equipment which may speed up the search and improve its efficiency.


A Navy official said in response that "the police have a special volunteers' unit specializing in searches in shallow water, while the Navy specializes in deep water. It should be noted that if this was a life-saving operation, the Navy fighter would dive in immediately and ask questions later. The claims of lack of cooperation are unnecessary and ridiculous."


Who are you, Rose?

Rose is the daughter of Benjamin Pezam, a former Modiin resident, and his French ex-wife Marie. The two met several years ago and had Rose. They later separated after Marie became romantically involved with Benjamin's father, Ronny Ron. The couple had two daughters together.


Grandfather Ronny Ron at court (Photo: Yaron Brener)


Benjamin left for France, taking Rose with him. In December 2007, after Rose was hospitalized in France and her mother suspected that she had been abused, Marie managed to gain custody of her eldest daughter following a legal battle.


The girl joined the family in Netanya, but disappeared five months later, in May 2008. No one informed the police that she had gone missing.


Almost three months later, Rose's great grandmother Vivian, Ronny's mother, approached the welfare authorities after asking her son of her granddaughter's whereabouts and not receiving sufficient answers.


The Netanya police was informed of the incident and launched an investigation. Police investigators searched for Rose for two weeks, and the gag order placed on the details of the shocking affair was lifted Tuesday morning. The mother and grandfather were arrested.


'Perhaps I wasn't such a good mother'

A Ramla court on Tuesday extended the grandfather's remand by 15 days and the mother's remand by 10 days.


During the court hearing, Marie sat with tears in her eyes, whispering, "Perhaps I wasn't such a good mother. There was tension at home."


The grandfather, on the other hand, kept cool, hid his face in his hands in order to avoid the photographers and lowered his head throughout the hearing. He reiterated that the incident was a tragic accident rather than a premeditated murder.


Mother Marie at court (Photo: Yaron Brener)


The police investigation revealed letters written by the mother, in which she stated that she no longer wanted her daughter. On Tuesday, Ynet found photos uploaded by Marie to a website several years, in which she showed great affection to her child. The photos show a charming and vital girl, and the captions paint the picture of a happy family. Marie presented her daughter as her "treasure".


A few months ago, on a French social network, Marie stated that her profession was "a mother".


In the website, where the mother searched for friends from schools she studied in, she wrote that she was the mother of three small girls. She added that she was 23 and lived in Netanya. Asked to state her profession, she simply wrote, "A mother".

Screenshot from French social network


The police clarified that although the mother had claimed to have nothing to do with her daughter's disappearance, investigators discovered that she had called one of her partner Ronny's friends and told him, "I need a five-year-old child soon, otherwise your friend will be sent to jail for many years." The friend did not understand her and hang up.


A police official said that the phone call indicated that Marie was well aware of the alleged murder.

Rose in her father's arms, from photos uploaded to internet by Marie


In interviews broadcast on several television channels, Rose's biological father Benjamin, who lives in France, said that the person who murdered his daughter must pay the price. He told a Channel 2 reporter that he has yet to process the events.


Asked whether he believes his ex-wife and father could have murdered his daughter, he said, "Now it's possible. I didn’t think he could do such a thing, but I didn’t know him actually. As far as I'm concerned, he's a stranger, a strange man."


The father asked the police in Israel "to find out exactly what happened there and how they reached such a situation."


Great grandmother: What went wrong?

Rose's great grandmother Vivian met with reporters Tuesday night and presented her version of the events. She said that her son and his partner "took good care of the child, dressed her up and took her out. I don’t know what went wrong."


Despite the heavy fear that her great granddaughter is not longer alive, she said she hopes the incident has a happy ending and Rose shows up alive.


Asked about her son, suspected of murdering his granddaughter, she said, "Ronny was a good boy. Everyone loved him. He was in good schools and he didn't miss a thing. All his friends and girlfriends loved him. He was alright, like any other child in the country."


A relative told Ynet that the family was a very tense one, particularly in light of a financial dispute.


"When Vivian's husband was released from regular service in the IDF, they began fighting over his pension funds. Everyone wanted to do something with the money, and the father promised to save money for the grandchildren, but this never happened.


"The money was lost after the son, Ronny, made his parents act as guarantors to a mortgage, and the money was gone. The conflict became stronger and ties were cut off."


Raanan Ben-Zur contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 08.27.08, 07:22
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