The Haifa Magistrate’s Court released for publication on Sunday the name of a 49-year-old male nurse suspected of killing a teen girl earlier this month, and extended his remand for a week.
The court named Edward Kachura, a nurse at a psychiatric facility in the north, as the suspect in the murder of 17-year-old Lital Yael Melnik, whom he met when she was hospitalized at the facility.
According to Channel 12 news, Kachura is a divorced father of two teens.
Kachura was reportedly involved in Melnik’s treatment and then engaged in an illicit sexual relationship with her.
Six girls hospitalized alongside Melnik told the Walla news site that Kachura had a “special relationship” with a number of girls at the facility. Police reportedly believe Kachura and Melnik had sexual relations even while the teen was staying at the psychiatric care center.
Kachura’s lawyer, Boris Sherman, told Channel 12 that he hoped his client would soon be released, emphasized that the girl was above the age of consent, and dismissed any ethical concerns.
“It has been reported in the past that there was an affair. In our opinion, it was legal. The moral issue is of course irrelevant here,” Sherman said.
In extending Kachura’s remand, Judge Jada Bosul said there was a concern the investigation into the “shocking” killing could be obstructed.
“This is a shocking case that led to the loss of life of a 17-year-old minor, which [Kachura] is suspected of being responsible for. The suspicion exists and has not weakened, and there is a fear of obstruction to the investigation,” the judge said.
The Health Ministry has reportedly decided to open an external investigation into the conduct of the psychiatric facility that will begin at the conclusion of the criminal probe into the murder.
Police believe that Kachura murdered the teen on October 2 after discovering that Melnik had disclosed their relationship to a close friend.
Melnik’s body was discovered after a security guard called police, saying that he had seen a man and a young woman arriving together at a construction site near his workplace, with the man later leaving alone.
Police, arriving at the scene, found the girl’s body half-buried in a freshly dug grave.
Investigators suspect that Melnik, whose body was discovered at a construction site in the Haifa suburb of Kiryat Motzkin, was buried alive.
Melnik was studying at a boarding school in the country’s south. She was reported missing by her grandmother a day before she was killed, after she failed to arrive at her house as planned.
The grandmother told police that Melnik had some form of relationship with an older man. According to the Kan public broadcaster, Melnik had told others at the boarding school that she was having a romantic relationship with the suspect.
In the past, the grandmother had a restraining order issued against the suspect to keep him away from her granddaughter, according to the Haaretz daily.
Speaking at the teen’s funeral, her sister, Ruth Melnik, said, “We wanted to protect you from the cruelty and evil that exists in this world… I’m sorry we failed.”