The boyfriend of a woman whose baby died two days after arriving at an Israeli hospital in critical condition has been confirmed as a murder suspect after an autopsy determined that the infant died of a blow to the head, Hebrew media reported on Sunday.
During a hearing to extend his remand on Sunday, police declared 21-year-old Ziad Obeid, a Palestinian from the West Bank, a murder suspect in the death of the 11-month-old child, who died last Wednesday at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. He is alleged to have attacked the baby out of a desire for revenge against her mother, who had gone out with friends, leaving him to care for her child.
Obeid and the baby’s mother, 22, were both arrested last week, but the woman was subsequently released.
The baby girl was rushed to Soroka Medical Center last Monday with a critical head injury. Obeid is suspected of attacking a helpless person, abandoning a minor and being in Israel without a permit, police told the Ashkelon Magistrate’s Court during a remand hearing last Tuesday.
The Palestinian man, the mother, and the baby’s father were all arrested Monday after the girl was seriously injured. The father, who reportedly lives in a southern Bedouin community, was later released. Another man was arrested and remanded for two days for allegedly helping Obeid try to escape the scene after he had summoned an ambulance to attend to the girl.
An eyewitness, Eli, described to Army Radio what happened as the Palestinian suspect alerted neighbors last Monday that the baby was injured.
He said the man knocked on their door and asked for help, shouting, “Help me, help me, my daughter isn’t breathing, she isn’t feeling well, she has lost consciousness.” Although he initially told them he was her father, he did not later repeat the claim and the girl’s father was found to be another man.
Eli said a medic tried to resuscitate the girl. As they waited for an ambulance to arrive, Eli questioned Obeid about what had happened and became suspicious of his answers. The man told him that the baby had a temperature, that he had given her some medication he found in the refrigerator and then “she suddenly lost consciousness.”
During the commotion after an ambulance arrived and medics attended to the baby, Obeid disappeared. He was later found heading toward the West Bank and arrested.