The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Friday extended the remand of a man who is being held on suspicion of killing his wife while their eight-month-old daughter was home and then attempting to take his own life.
Police found 32-year-old Michal Sela’s body in the couple’s home in the Jerusalem suburb of Motza early Friday morning with multiple stab wounds.
The couple’s eight-month-old daughter was not harmed in the attack.
Relatives have reportedly launched a campaign in local communities for breast milk donations for the baby.
Sela’s husband collapsed Friday morning after passing off his infant daughter to neighbors. They told the Walla news site that he stumbled over to their home, bleeding, and mumbled, ‘Please help, my wife and I just tried to commit suicide,” before he passed out.
According to Hebrew-language media reports, however, there is no evidence that it was indeed a suicide pact. Police suspect Sela was killed by her husband before he attempted to kill himself.
He was hospitalized at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem in critical condition. He was sedated and on a ventilator, his lawyer said Friday, and therefore unable as yet to give his account of what had happened. The court hearing was held in his absence and his identity remains under gag order.
Police said there was no record of prior domestic violence, and friends and family expressed profound shock at the incident.
“I’m still not processing what happened… Michal was so full of light, she spread joy wherever she went,” her brother Avihu told the Walla news site.
Sela’s sister Lily Ben-Ami also praised her sister, who chose a career as a social worker.
“Every person she saw she just wanted to help and give, whether a stranger or a relative,” said Ben-Ami, according to Channel 12 news. “If it happened to our family it can happen anywhere. The worst thing has happened to us.”
Sela was said to be dedicated to her job at a center for at-risk youth in Jerusalem.
“Michal always believed that even a single smile could change a person’s entire world… a part of my soul has been taken from me and I’ll never get in back,” Sela’s sister Noga told Walla.
Sela is survived by her parents and five siblings.