Police investigators suspect that 17-year-old Lital Yael Melnik, whose body was discovered Saturday at a construction site in the Haifa suburb of Kiryat Motzkin, was buried alive.
On Sunday, the Haifa Magistrate’s Court remanded the suspect in the murder, ruling that he remain in police custody for an additional eight days.
The 49-year-old man, who was arrested Saturday night, works at a psychiatric hospital and had reportedly previously treated Melnik, who had a history of mental illness, as well as being romantically involved with her.
Police believe that he carried out the murder at around 4 a.m. Saturday morning, after discovering that Melnik had disclosed their relationship to a close friend.
Melnik’s body was discovered after a security guard called police on Saturday, 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.
Having verified the identity of the older man whom Melnik had ties to, police staked out his home and arrested him when he arrived.
Melnik was studying at a boarding school in the country’s south. She was reported missing by her grandmother on Friday, 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.
Melnik was laid to rest Monday afternoon in the Or Akiva cemetery near her home, in a ceremony attended by over 200 people.
Speaking at the 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.”