Tel Aviv prosecutors on Monday closed the case into a foreign caregiver who allegedly left an elderly woman shackled to fence in central Israel last month, due to lack of evidence.
On August 4, police arrested a Filipina caregiver who tied her wheelchair-bound charge to a fence outside the Ayalon Mall in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, while she shopped inside.
Initial claims made on Facebook by a passerby said that the woman was abandoned for up to 40 minutes. However, police found no evidence that she was there for more than 10 minutes.
The caregiver claimed that she had to leave her charge outside, because the store was not wheelchair accessible. She maintained that she kept the woman within eyesight the whole time, Channel 10 reported.
The caregiver and her client were identified after a concerned passerby snapped a picture of the elderly woman left outside in the intense summer heat and posted it on social media. The image went viral in Israel, sparking outrage and allegations of abuse.
The woman who posted the photo, Dikla Amram Cohen, told the media last month that she saw the elderly woman tied to the fence as she arrived at the city’s mall.
“When I returned [after shopping], she was still there,” Amram Cohen said. “I went to ask her if she needs anything and whether I could get her some water, and I saw she was sweating profusely and could barely speak to me.”
However, Amram Cohen refused to testify in the case, and retracted her initial estimate of the amount of time the elderly woman was left outside. No other witnesses came forward in the case.
The prosecutor ruled that “there was not sufficient evidence to demonstrate that there was any danger to the life of the elderly woman, nor any damage to her health.”
Filipinos constitute one of the largest groups of immigrant workers in Israel. Approximately 300,000 Filipinos currently reside and work in Israel, the vast majority of them employed as caregivers to the elderly.