Security footage shows Tesfabran Tesfatsion arriving at home of Eritrean girl Silvana Tsegai Monday afternoon • He is suspected of beating and sexually assaulting her before choking her to death • Silvana's body might be returned to Eritrea for burial.
Avi Cohen and Danielle Roth-Avneri
Sylvana Tsegai, 13, was brutally murdered in her home on Monday afternoon.
Police have arrested a man suspected in the brutal sexual assault and murder of a teenage girl of Eritrean descent in Tel Aviv earlier this week.
The suspect, Tesfebarhan Tesfasion, had previously been in a relationship with the mother of the victim, 13-year-old Sylvana Tsegai.
Security camera footage showed him arriving at the home of his former partner in the Hatikva neighborhood in south Tel Aviv at 12:55 on Monday. That was approximately the time the nearby Bialik Rogozin School, which Tsegai attends, lets out for the day.
When Tsegai arrived home, he was waiting for her, the footage showed.
Tesfasion is suspected of then beating and sexually assaulting her. He allegedly choked her to death, and left the apartment at 3:42 p.m.
The Tel Aviv District Police launched a 48-hour manhunt, ultimately apprehending the suspect after receiving a tip that a man resembling Tesfasion's mug shots, distributed in the media, had been spotted in the city's Carmel Market.
Police followed up and soon identified Tesfasion, who tried to evade arrest. Police pursued on foot and arrested him. Once in custody, Tesfasion denied he was the person they were looking for.
"I just work here in the market," he told officers.
Once a positive identification was made, Tesfasion demanded a lawyer and was taken to the Yiftach Police Station in south Tel Aviv for questioning. When police informed him that he had been identified, the suspect admitted involvement in Tsegai's murder.
Tesfasion was due to appear in the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court for a remand hearing on Thursday.
On Wednesday, new details about Tesfasion emerged. Police were surprised to discover that he is one of the wealthiest members of the city's Eritrean enclave, having made his money by bringing foreign workers to Israel.
Shortly before the murder, he reportedly withdrew a large sum from his bank account.
Tsegai has not yet been laid to rest. Her grieving family is still unsure whether she will be buried in Israel or whether her body will be returned to her native Eritrea.