Father refuses to permit autopsies of daughters

Police turn to court to overrule religious father's objection to autopsies.

Orly Harari,

The apartment in which the bodies were found.
The apartment in which the bodies were found.
Jerusalem firefighting and rescue services

Israel Police on Monday will petition the courts to allow autopsies on the four daughters who were killed in Sunday's fire.

The father, who is religious, has refused to allow the authorities to perform autopsies after the suspicion of a murder-suicide was raised. Autopsies are not the norm in religious circles as they raise serious halakhic questions concerning respect for the human body. A rabbi is normally consulted in cases where authorities deem it necessary to perform one and the people involved are observant Jews.

When firefighters arrived at the scene on Sunday, they found four young girls ranging in age from 11 months to 11 years in a locked, burning room. Since the fire had been contained in a single room, it had not spread to the rest of the house.

The 36-year-old mother had hanged herself on the balcony, and the father was not home at the time.