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Large insurance claim led to sister’s arrest in case of woman who fell from roof

Suspect filed for $1.7m payout, is said to have altered policies near the time her 65-year-old sibling died in April; suspect says she has an alibi, didn’t push victim off the roof

Screen capture from video of a woman later arrested as a suspect in the April death of her 65-year-old relative who fell from a roof in Tel Aviv, October 2022. (YouTube. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Screen capture from video of a woman later arrested as a suspect in the April death of her 65-year-old relative who fell from a roof in Tel Aviv, October 2022. (YouTube. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A suspiciously large life insurance claim led police to arrest the sister of a woman who died falling from the roof of her building earlier this year, Hebrew language media reported Wednesday.

Police said Tuesday that they had arrested a 61-year-old woman a day earlier on suspicion of involvement in the death of her relative, who fell from a Tel Aviv building where they lived.

The 65-year-old woman was found at the foot of a building on Pumbedita Street on April 26. Paramedics were unable to revive her and pronounced her dead at the scene.

The woman’s body underwent an autopsy and there was no suspicious evidence found. Police concluded that she had likely gone up to the roof to check a water heater when she tripped and fell to her death.

However, the deceased woman’s sister had made changes to the latter’s life insurance policies before and also after her death, increasing the potential payouts, and subsequently filed a claim for NIS 6 million ($1.7 million), the Kan public broadcaster reported.

Suspicious of the developments, the insurance company asked police to reopen the investigation.

The suspected sister’s remand was extended Tuesday by six days, seen as a long period considering her age and lack of previous criminal record. There is no footage of the incident and all the evidence against the suspect is currently circumstantial, the station noted.

The suspect has claimed that she was at a nearby shopping center when the incident occurred and that she could not possibly have pushed her sister off the roof. However, initial police reports contradicted her account, stating that the victim’s sister was at home at the time of the incident, Channel 12 news reported.

The suspect’s attorney, Idan Pesach, said his client is an academic with a doctorate degree and no criminal past.

He said the sisters were “very close” and that they took care of each other in the apartment where they lived.

“The suspect took care of all of the deceased’s needs, medical and financial, so the very thought that she is in any way connected to her death is shocking and outrageous,” he told Kan.

Channel 12 reported Tuesday that after opening the investigation, police officers began to interview residents of the building about the nature of the relationship between the victim and her sister, with some neighbors reporting they had heard screaming in the apartment.

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