Sylvana Tsegai takes a selfie at the Kuchinate, African Refugee Women’s Collective's Christmas party. (photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER)
Just days before 12-year-old Sylvana Tsegai was found dead in her home, becoming the latest victim of domestic violence, she helped with
preparations for the annual march in Tel Aviv to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence
The day after the march, on Monday, Sylvana’s mother found her daughter dead in their apartment in the Hatikva
neighborhood of Tel Aviv.
Police are still searching
for the prime suspect in Sylvana’s murder, her mother’s ex-boyfriend, Tesfabran Tesfatsion.
Sylvana was an Eritrean asylum seeker and was active in the Kuchinate, the African Refugee Women’s Collective, who make a living from crocheting baskets and hosting visitors
at their studio in south Tel Aviv.
"The Kuchinate family is utterly devastated by the senseless and cruel murder of our youngest member Sylvana, who was just 12 years old. She would frequently arrive after
school and would crochet and chat and eat with us," the group posted in a statement on Facebook on Tuesday. "A beautiful , special, independent, gentle, creative soul has gone. May her dear soul rest in peace."
"On Sunday was the International day against violence against women, we took part in the march where Sister Aziza said 'enough is enough' and we prayed in memory of mothers,
sisters and daughters murdered by violence. Sylvana was murdered the next day," the group added.
Commenting on the post, Sharon Cohen Tischler wrote: "Last Tuesday, Sylvana was helping us create pink hats for the March, and said that she does not believe that men will
stop being violent. She then spoke of her dreams to be a fashion model, and make money so that she could be independent.... We never asked her Why?"
police originally claimed that Sylvana had not filed any complaints with the police leading up to the murder, a police spokesperson later announced that several days prior to her death she called to complain about Tesfatsion, who had come to the apartment
to collect his belongings.
“Both in that complaint and after being questioned by officers about him, the girl stated that he never used violence against her in any way,” the statement said.
Police asked for the public’s help in locating Tesfatsion.
The Tel Aviv municipality also released a statement saying that it had not received any recent complaints from the mother or daughter. The girl’s mother had been in contact
with the Office for Migrant Community Assistance (Mesila) more than a year ago and was advised to file a complaint with the police; she has not been in touch since then, the statement said.
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report