In Ashdod, the late Tarak Tayik was buried on Tuesday, about a month after being spotted by special search and rescue forces of the Israel Dog Unit (IDU) about six months after it became known she was missing.

On her last journey, Tayik was escorted by hundreds of people, mostly members of the Ethiopian community. Her family and dignitaries made eulogies and stories of her life as a devoted and righteous mother.

In the months of her absence, the IDU conducted extensive searches with ZAKA, Israel Police, and other bodies.

About a month ago, her body was found by a pair of IDU members, Meshulam Sones and Aryeh Yavin, who note that the burial place of the late Tayik at the edge of the Ashdod cemetery is located only 200 meters away from the spot where she was located under a tree near the cemetery. The searchers estimate that she went to rest under the tree, became dehydrated, and died after an unclear period of time.

"Any search is a puzzle, a mystery, a crossword puzzle that requires a game of assembly," says Israel Dog Unit Commander Yekutiel ben Yaakov, stressing that "searching for a missing person isn't a game but a race against the clock, especially in the first few days. After that, even if we can't save the missing person, the search will continue as long as necessary to bring the missing person to Jewish burial, as long as bones can be found to bring a certain closure to the family and partially heal the open wounds of doubt."

Israel Dog Unit being briefed on search; Photo credit: Israel Dog Unit Spokesman

To achieve quick and effective results, search teams and commanders must act quickly and professionally to solve the crossword puzzle by mapping the relevant field cells. This is done while taking into consideration the missing person's profile, the trigger that caused the absence, and the missing person's history and physical condition, while analyzing the topography of the region, the climate, along with the IDU's tools and resources.

"In the case of the late Tarak Tayik, as in many other cases, the incident took place with information provided to our headquarters about testimonies and cameras that documented her walking in the city's different neighborhoods. The general direction was northward, near the cemetery. IDU command had to examine and weigh the reliability of the evidence and decide which areas and orchards to survey first. We acted on the assumption that she left the urban area and that's why the flow of information about her movements stopped coming at some point.

In addition, the IDU said a considerable problem facing the forces was the size of the areas they had to scan, which stretched over many kilometers to the Lachish River that surrounds Ashdod. "The prevailing opinion in the family and the police was that she left Ashdod or that she was trying to distance herself from the area," she said, adding that "Indeed, evidence was found that she was supposedly observed in various cities that later turned out to be wrong."

IDU at funeral; photo: Israel Dog Unit Spokesman
Funeral Israel Dog Unit Spokesman