11:28am UK, Wednesday August 27, 2008
Yael Lavie in Jerusalem
Gruesome details surrounding the disappearance of a four-year-old girl have been released by Israeli police.
Four-year-old Rose Ron went missing three months ago.
Rose Ron, who has not been seen for three months and is now believed to have been murdered, has been the victim of Israel's worst case of domestic violence in history, detectives say.
After two weeks of a comprehensive gag order, police have now spoken about the tragic life and almost certain death of the young girl.
Her grandfather has told police he accidentally killed her, but Rose's body has not been found.
The unanswered questions about her fate have shocked the nation and led the Jerusalem Post to ask: "Is Rose Israel's Madeleine (McCann)?"
Her age and appearance may be similar to that of Madeleine's, but the circumstances of Rose's upbringing are very different.
Little Rose Ron was born to Marie, a French woman and Benjamin Ron, an Israeli living in France.
The young couple travelled to Israel three years ago, where Marie fell in love with her husband’s father, Ronny Ron.
Marie remained in Israel to pursue a relationship with Ronny while Rose returned to France with her father and was cared for in a string of institutions, where she allegedly suffered physical abuse.
She was eventually sent back to Israel to be raised by her mother and grandfather, Ronny Ron, as well as her great grandmother.
Police searching for Rose's body
The youngster, who understandably suffered communication problems, barely spoke either Hebrew or French and was described by neighbours as quiet and distant, occasionally banging her head against the wall to gain attention.
Then, three months ago, Rose Ron simply disappeared.
No-one seemed to really notice until her grandfather walked into a Tel Aviv police station two weeks ago and confessed to her murder.
Recounting his actions, Ronny Ron told police he got angry with Rose during a car journey and hit her.
After he struck her and did not hear any sounds he realised she was dead.
In his panic, he claims to have stuffed her body into a suitcase and thrown it into a river.
Speaking in court, he called her death a ‘tragic mistake’.
The child’s grandfather is in custody suspected of her murder, while her mother and great grandmother are suspected of conspiracy to murder.
In a court hearing, Marie admitted: "I may not have been the best mother to her."
Local police have spent two weeks searching for Rose’s body and are yet to find her.
"I have handled many investigations," said the Israeli district police commander on Israeli radio.
"But I can not recall a single other investigation that turned all our stomachs, that all of us come out of the investigation briefings with tears in their eyes."