Nava Elimelech
Nava Elimelech Credit: Courtesy of the family

Israel police completed a profile of the suspect in the murder of 12-year Nava Elimelech, whose dismembered body was found in 1982. The circumstances of her murder have remained a mystery for 37 years, but due to new discoveries on the case, her body was exhumed earlier this week.

Elimelech's body was tested by the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute and investigators at the Lahav 433 investigation unit believe that her murderer is currently age 70, lives in the center of Israel and has a criminal background, according to a Channel 13 News report on Monday. The report said that 100 detectives are currently working on the case, including many undercover ones.

A gag order has been imposed on the case and the new evidence has not been revealed to the public. Elimelech's 90-year old mother signed papers allowing the police to exhume Nava's remains on Sunday but even she wasn't told the details of the new developments.

"No one told me anything," the mother told Ynet. "I wish I knew, and I hope they will know."

“I’m ready to do anything to get to the truth,” Mazal Elimelech continued. “I’ve been praying for 40 years. I hope we will learn what happened. I constantly light candles in the hope that justice for my daughter will come. It isn’t easy for us.”

“We are ready to do anything to arrive at the truth. We agreed to do everything just so we could know who the murderer is, who perpetrated this wrong. I’ll give my life, my family’s life, our joy, anything to so we can get to the person who did it. This is what we need to know. We are ready to do anything to get to whoever did this.”

Mazal also told Ynet that the many years that have passed by haven't dimmed the memory of her daughter. "The house is full of pictures. I keep imagining the door opening, and in comes Nava, coming back from school. I still have this hope, I can't sleep at nights. She was a special girl, so kind-hearted."

Nava was last seen leaving her home to visit a friend in Bat Yam on Saturday, March 20th, 1982. When her friend's mother called Nava's parents to say that Nava had never arrived, they called the police. That evening, the police began searching for her and were later joined by thousands of volunteers.

Ten days later, the unthinkable occurred when a bag with a head and part of a leg of was found on a beach north of Tel Aviv and identified as Elimelech's remains. Over the next few days, more body parts in plastic bags drifted onto several beaches in central Israel, horrifying the country.

A thorough investigation was carried out but turned up nothing, despite the fact that Israel Police dedicated the largest investigation team to the case in Israeli history, with 40 members.

"We thought that Nava Elimelech's murder was committed in an act of revenge against her family," Azaria Zamir, chief of the Bat Yam police station at the time, told Ynet. "The method of dismembering the body, putting it in bags and dumping it in the sea was intentional, it seemed," Zamir added.

Zamir recalls when Nava's mother, was taken to identify her daughter's body. "This was the most difficult situation, more than the event itself," he said.

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