Testimonies continued Sunday in the murder trial of four-year-old Rose Pizem.
Rose went missing in May 2008. Her body was found after several months, stuffed in a suitcase submerged in the waters of the Yarkon River. Her mother, Marie-Charlotte Renault, and grandfather, Ronny Ron, were indicted for her murder.
The Petah Tikva District Court heard the testimony of Vivian Yaakov, her paternal grandmother. Yaakov was the child's primary caregiver in the months prior to her death, and her testimony painted a grim picture of parental neglect.
"She was a normal little girl," she said, adding she knew that Marie and Ronny used to spank her. At one point, she told the court, "Rose said 'mommy doesn’t love me. She plays with my sisters, but she doesn't hug or kiss me.'"
Ronny Ron (L) and Marie-Charlotte Renault (blue blouse) in court (Photo: Dudi Azoulay)
On one occasion, as she came to Marie and Ronny's house "Marie began screaming at me 'what are you doing here? There is nothing for you here.' She began laughing hysterically and cursing me… I told her I though she was crazy.
"After May 12 (2008) I never saw Rose again. I thought everything was okay. I was sure that if something was wrong, Ronny would come to me."
At some point, Yaakov told the court, after a long while had past, she began looking for Rose, following various leads that suggested the girl was placed in an orphanage, a care facility for children suffering from Down's syndrome and later – a mental institution. Eventually, she added, some questions arose as to why she was so frantically looking for the child, and at that point, she said, the suspicion that all was not well arose as well.
A visibly frail Yaakov told the court she searched for the child at relatives overseas – since at one point she thought Ronny may have sent her to France – and also sought the help of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS); but as the inquiries continued "it seemed like no one had seen Rose."
"I would have taken her in. I asked them for power of attorney, I always said I was willing to take care of her… Ronny never asked me for help or advice. Rose was just learning to talk, to sing… she was a beautiful little girl."