Argentine police have searched the home of the son of an Israeli woman who went missing with her sister over a week ago during a visit to Argentina.
Dr. Lily Pereg, 54, an associate professor of microbiology at the University of New England in Australia, and her sister, Pyrhia Sarusi, 63, were last seen on January 12 in the Argentine city of Mendoza. They were visiting Sarusi’s son, Gil Pereg, 36, in the Mendoza province, in the northwest of the country.
The women last communicated with family members in Israel and Australia at 2.30 a.m. on Friday, January 11, but have not been heard from since.
The next day they visited Sarusi’s son, who is the local chairman of five companies established by his mother, and who is under investigation on suspicion of involvement in the disappearance.
Police found four guns in his home, money in euros, dollars and pesos totaling $80,000, and dozens of cats and dogs.
Gil Pereg told investigators he saw the pair get on board a public bus in the hours prior to their suspected disappearance to return to the downtown area of Mendoza, where they were staying in a rented apartment.
Israel Police investigators were scheduled to arrive in Mendoza to help in the investigation.
A GoFundMe campaign was established to raise funds to help pay a private investigator to locate the women. “The family has hired a retired police officer who knows the two personally, and speaks Spanish, English, and Hebrew. He is currently in Argentina helping with the investigation as he knows them and can identify them,” a message on the crowdfunding page from the family.
The younger Pereg spoke to reporters in front of his home Monday and asked for help in the search for his mother and aunt, the Argentinian news website MDZ reported.
“I have no idea what happened, I am not a fortune-teller,” Pereg told reporters, adding that there are many criminals on the loose in Mendoza.