COLUMBUS: An Israeli man confessed to stabbing to death his two children while they visited him from the United States, then led police to the bodies, police in Israel said.
The father was arrested late Wednesday after turning himself in, said Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
The children, 10-year-old Sara Levy and her 11-year-old brother, Yishai, lived with their mother in Ohio and attended Columbus Torah Academy.
Authorities didn’t release the name of the father, who lives in Ramla, Israel.
“The entire Columbus Torah Academy community is heartbroken over the loss of our two precious students,” headmaster Rabbi Zvi Kahn said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the children’s grief-stricken mother. We ask that everyone respect the family’s privacy.”
The children were full of life, had many friends and “had a really deep loving relationship with their mother,” Gordon Hecker, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Columbus, said in an interview.
The man and his ex-wife, Karen, had been involved in a “complicated” divorce and police had received complaints against the father of violence before the couple split up, Rosenfeld said.
The father has refused to answer questions since his confession, the police spokesman said, and the investigation is continuing. “Obviously he is the main suspect,” Rosenfeld said.
Details on a motive were not immediately clear.
The Israeli website Ynet said the mother was an American immigrant and spent time in a women’s shelter before moving with the children to the U.S. to be closer to her family. It quoted Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, director of a center that represented the woman, as saying that during divorce proceedings, the mother raised concerns that the father might harm the children.
The website said the children visited the father twice a year under the divorce settlement.