State prosecutors are gearing up to indict a father and mother on Monday after police last month found their 7-year-old daughter tied to a bathtub and showing signs of severe physical abuse.
On August 12, police arrived at the girl’s home after receiving complaints of persistent crying. As they prepared to break down the door, the suspects arrived from an outing at the beach. The father rushed to the bathroom in an apparent effort to untie his daughter before the officers saw. However, the cops followed him to discover the girl in bad physical shape.
She was tied by her hands, feet and neck to the bathtub with a thick rope that the officers had to use a knife to cut. The girl was taken to a nearby hospital for a medical examination and doctors discovered signs of severe, long-term neglect and abuse. Those included missing toenails and burn marks, according to Hebrew media reports. A search of the house found evidence tying the parents to their daughter’s abuse, police said.
The father, 51, and mother 36, were arrested on the spot and have remained behind bars since.
Hebrew media reported police had discovered that the girl had been born in the West Bank and was smuggled into Israel without any documentation by her Palestinian mother.
Both parents are on their second marriage, family members told Hebrew media last month. The father has 15 children — 12 with his first wife and three with his current one.
Family members surmised that the girl, who was not known to them, may be the mother’s eldest, born during her first marriage.
The Ynet news site reported at the time that the parents and three other children had gone out of the apartment, leaving the girl behind for an unspecified reason.
A lawyer representing the parents denied they had tied her up, telling Ynet they had left her sleeping in her bed. The lawyer said the parents were claiming that the girl had been tied up by a burglar who also stole valuables from the apartment while they were out.
They claimed that a neighbor called them a few hours later to say there were shouts coming from their apartment. “They are completely normal parents who would never do what they have been accused of,” the lawyer said.
But at the couple’s remand hearing on last month, a police representative confirmed to the court that officers had found the girl tied in the bathtub in a pool of her own excrement, and said she had been tied up for several hours by the time they had freed her.
The court was also told by officials that there was no record of the girl in the Interior Ministry’s Population Registry, suggesting that the parents had never notified the state of her birth.
It is not clear if she was enrolled in any educational framework or received health care, both of which require an identity card.
In the hearing, the father denied he had tied the girl up, but admitted to prosecutors’ accusations of neglect, Channel 12 reported.
The mother claimed the girl had suffered from a severe skin disease. She was taken to the West Bank for treatment, the mother’s attorney said, but the treatment only worsened her condition.
The court ordered a forensic medical exam of the girl to ascertain whether and how she was mistreated.