TEL AVIV – Two suspects have been arrested for bludgeoning an Israeli tourist in Hungary to death with bricks, Ynet news reported.
Ofir Gross, a 40-year-old biomedical engineering student from Jerusalem who was studying in Germany, traveled to Hungary when his studies were over. After failing to make contact with his family for over a week, Israeli police informed the Hungarian authorities who sent out a search and rescue team.
Hungarian authorities announced on Sunday that Gross’ body had been found and two suspects, aged 19 and 21, had been arrested on suspicion of murder.
“We were notified that two suspects were arrested. This is extremely difficult for us,” said Hannah, Ofir’s mother. “We don’t know too much and we are trying to process this terrible news.”
Local media reported that the murder occurred in the yard of an abandoned house that Gross had been sleeping in. According to the reports, the suspects beat Gross to death with bricks they found in the garden. They then carried his body to an empty building site and covered it with construction material. Gross’ laptop and cellphone were sold and his other phone was buried along with his tent.
According to his sister Gali, Gross had been staying at a friend’s home in the southern town of Tiszakecske when his host needed to leave for Budapest. Gross made his way to Debrecen and called his sister, telling her that he had not yet found a place to sleep.
“That was the last conversation we had with him, right before the Seder,” Gali told Ynet before the body was discovered, referring to the first night of Passover on April 22. “He doesn’t have a Facebook account and he asked me to go into groups and find him a place to sleep. During this conversation, he said that he had met a young man who offered him to sleep at his place, and he hasn’t responded since. Up to that point, we spoke every day on WhatsApp and on the phone, but it is like the earth swallowed him now.”
After the body was discovered, Gali wrote on Facebook: “Barbaric animals took my brother, Ofir, from me. Ofir is a special person, as one of his friends wrote, he was one in a million. He is smart, knowledgeable, inquisitive, curious, and uses his wisdom in order to help those who need it.
“Sensitive, with a gentle soul, funny, creative, highly educated, handsome, and blue-eyed. Seeker of justice, he is someone who strives to be honest, which for him is more important than anything. He has a stubborn belief in his way and in himself. (I cannot write about him in past tense). Ofir, I already miss you so much! It hurts and is so hard to believe and to accept.”