The exterminator accused of causing the deaths of Yael and Avigail Gross, aged 1 and 4, by exposure to toxic chemicals was arrested on Thursday amid suspicions that he had resumed working in violation of a court order.
On Friday, he was named as Yossi Barkan, from Nataf outside Jerusalem. The court ordered Barkan named so that potential clients would know not to employ him.
Barkan denied the new allegations, saying he had laid traps for pests but had not fumigated since his initial arrest on January 22 and subsequent release to house arrest. According to the court order, he was to refrain from working altogether for 60 days, and barred from leaving the country for 180 days.
The Gross family fell ill after exterminator Barkan allegedly used aluminum phosphide during a visit to the family’s home in the Givat Mordechai neighborhood of Jerusalem. When mixed with water, the toxin reacts to release phosphine, an extremely harmful gas.
Barkan reportedly left a container of the poisonous material inside a room that he sealed with masking tape, intending to return to continue his work.
Avigail and Yael were rushed to the hospital along with the rest of their family, but doctors were unable to save their lives. The girls were laid to rest later that week at Jerusalem’s Har Hamenuhot cemetery even as their brothers were still fighting for their lives in intensive care.
Michael Gross, 7, and his brother Yitzhak, 5, who nearly died in the incident, were on Monday placed in a regular ward at the Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah Tikva, having previously been in intensive care.