Mexico City (05 October 2007)
Upon their arrival in Cancun, the Rishpys saw Dana's face on every corner . In the signs that their son had installed throughout the city, their daughter was smiling. The image was clouded with the inscription: "Missing. Dana Rishpy (25). " In her absence, a few days before, she had just turned 25 years old. A 5 thousand US dollar reward was offered to anyone who gave information about her whereabouts. The phones of the National Center for Federal Police were flooded with calls of false information.
The Israelis, and especially the Rishpys, were accustomed to seeing Dana's photo on posters. When she was 4 years old, a photographer friend asked permission to photograph her. The image of the little "doll" with green eyes and a pixie look was so profound that the Moshav Lajish used it to advertise the grapes that were produced in Israel. Dana was seen in all corners of the country. Trucks, windows, shelves, supermarkets, fruit boxes, and other spectacular places.
As a child, everyone knew her. Until very recently, her picture remained on fruit stickers. However, unlike those ads, her picture was now in Mexico. It seemed like honey on ashes.
Dania and Dror arrived in Mexico committed as a couple. No matter what the future held, they vowed to remain united. A few days before traveling, while still in Israel, they were introduced to a man who had suffered the murder of his son in the United States four years ago. He was 20 years younger than Dror, but he was already an old man.
Smoking and with despair, his fingers yellow from nicotine, he told them that not only had his son died, but he lost everything. Woman, family, money, friends, health, appetite and sleep. He never managed to find his son's body and the memory of his life passed. Each family member had an idea of how to respond to the loss, and the recriminations ended in irreconcilable breaks. "We were advised to not let it destroy us, to recognize that life continues. We promised that we would not fall into the black hole. We would live for our children, for our grandchildren, and for ourselves. "
The rhetoric seemed easy, but tears and pain were inevitable, loss of appetite and sleep. Dania was content with an illusory hope: "While there is no body, all theories and possibilities are open."
But not Dror, for him, the scene was stark. Dana had been killed. "Once I was disturbed to see her hair so long. I said, Dana, I am afraid that someone will strangle you with your hair. She was proud of her femininity. Today, I am appalled to have thought that. It torments me what she might have endured in her last moments. Perhaps Matthew wanted to rape her or drug her. Dana is not intimidated. She was tall, very fast, capable of defending herself, and he strangled her. I suppose that he did not want to kill her, but that happened ... There is no consolation. "
Dror thinks that Matthew could not have gotten rid of her body alone. Someone helped him. He arrived in Mexico with the intention of finding the accomplice. "They did not throw her into the sea or a sinkhole, nor did they leave her out in the open. I think that they buried her more than a meter deep in the sand dunes of the Biosphere Reserve, and as the culprits, stayed in Tulum until it was ascertained that it would be impossible to find her. "
"The Hungarian" who claims to be a businessman selling shirts and crafts, was the witness who Dror Rishpy was looking for. When he was finally questioned by police on May 25, Zsolt Fejer, who was not identified with any official document, said that on Friday, March 30th, he attended a party at the Hotel Mezzanine. He was alone. Around one o'clock in the morning, "Matthew" and eight of his friends "asked Fejer for a ride to Playa Esperanza (Hope Beach). Fejer rented a cabin in Hydens Hideout, where he was staying with his Argentinian wife and their toddler , who were visiting. He said that he agreed to give a"ride" to whoever could climb into the back of his red pickup truck. He was sure that there were a lot of people. But he only remembered "Matthew" and a girl with long hair. Around 3:00 am he said, "Matthew" woke him up and asked to borrow a blanket. From there, he knew nothing more. A week later, "Matthew" had told him that he was in possession of a backpack of a girl who had "gone on a trip."
The deposition of "The Hungarian" who admits that gave capsules of Ecstasy to Matthew, remained without further questioning. Police know, and confirmed in a later interview, which was conducted recently by a team of independent investigators, that he is a distributor of LSD, ecstasy and other drugs at parties and beaches. Nobody followed up on him.
The authorities also questioned the matter of the blanket. He said that Mati left it in the morning on the fence, but nobody verified if " The Hungarian" actually had returned it to the hotel. The blanket could have been tested to confirm or reject the hypothesis that it was used in the crime. It is suspected that this blanket, borrowed by a friend in the early morning hours, served to carry Dana's dead body. "The Hungarian" perhaps knows more than he has confessed. Perhaps he helped his friend to remove the body after the murder, "said Dror.
The Rishpys recognize that the local police initially tried to investigate They questioned the receptionist of the hotel. They went to about 30 places to explore jungle areas, mangroves and sinkholes. They inquired at airports and bus stations. They searched the leasing records in Tulum. They conducted searches in Campeche. This, however, was insufficient.
Bello Melchor, the State Attorney General ordered on the 27th of May, "Find her dead or alive." However, as summer approached and the influx of tourists, their attention was diverted. "In Tulum, there exists a symbiotic relationship with drugs, tourism and the complicity of the authorities, "says Raphael, Dana's uncle.
When the authorities in Quintana Roo, felt that they had exhausted all channels, they carried the search to Belize, in order to "locate Dana elsewhere,". They did this to propagate the idea that Quintana Roo is a safe area. On June 7th, Didier Vazquez, director of the Judicial Police of Quintana Roo,Jorge Rishmawy Avila agent of the Public Prosecutor of Tulum, and Mario Fernando Lira Manzanero, commander of the Judicial Police of the state, departed for Central America to find Dana.
Following the route from the border, i.e from Corozal to Cayo Plascencia, they proceeded to show Dana Rishpy's photo to the villagers. They were accompanied by Santiago Góngora,of the Belize Police. Most of the people they questioned stated they had not seen Dana. Only one hesitated.
When they met with Peral Leslei, a woman 69 years old, who resides in Plascencia, they showed her photos of "a couple". Dana Rishpy and Matthew Walshin. She said that a few days earlier, they had been there. She did not know their names, but believed that they had gone to the Honduras. She noted, "I am not sure, but it seems to be them ." That was enough for the day of June 14th. A few days later, Bello Melchor, State Attorney General, forcefully declared that he had evidence that Dana was with her boyfriend "in Belize, and that they were headed for the Honduras.
When the television sounded this note on the evening news, Dania and Dror started receiving calls from acquaintances: "She's alive, she's alive." They knew that was impossible. Matthew remained in the United States and they knew exactly where. It was illogical, moreover, that Dana would have traveled without papers, without money and without calling. It was a stunt from the State Attorney General.
A few days later, Itzhak Erez, Israeli Consul,asked his counterpart of the Israeli embassy in El Salvador to seek Peral Leslei in Plascencia.
He arrived with new photos. However, this time of a niece who looked totally different than Dana. They showed the photos to the woman and asked if she recognized Dana Rishpy. She replied immediately, "I already told them that it is was her."
"It was obvious that this woman had reasons to confirm the information. I do not know if it was about money or the need to return a favor. What is a fact is that the information was false, "says Itzhak Erez.
Dania Rishpy called the TV stations on the night of June 14th to deny the alleged appearance of Dana. No one responded to her call nor corrected the error. Five weeks later, on July 21th, the Rishpys decided to return to Israel. The night before, Juancho, a dancer brought them to Mercedes Saviñon, a Mexican girlfriend. She gave her version of the crime stating that Dana had died by hanging.
"We leave physically, but we will not rest until we know what happened the night of March 30th, when Dana disappeared. We find it incomprehensible that if Matthew Ryan Walshin could be seen as a possible suspect, the State Attorney General has not filed a request to extradite him from the US. We are strongly opposed to the continuation of lies. Dana never left Mexico. With the support of the Israeli government, we will continue the search. We hope to find our daughter ... soon. "
The family is looking for the PGR to get involved in the case. On July 1st, Bello Melchor Rodriguez and Carrillo, Attorney General of Quintana Roo, decided to close the case. "How can it be possible that with such evidence that the crime was committed in their state, Bello Melchor would give up?" . The State Attorney said, without any sense of shame, the PGJE gave up because "Dana is playing games with the authorities."
(Expresión Libre, 1 de julio de 2007). Businessmen and hoteliers in the area, outraged at the turbulence, the spread of drugs and organized crime, murder and the disappearance of tourists in Quintana Roo, have demanded more than once the removal of the Attorney General (Free Expression, July 1 2007). Laura Susana Martinez Cardenas, an inspector from the State Commission for Human Rights, has alleged that in Quintana Roo "nothing is expedited without a bribe."
The case of Dana is just another murder, to add to an extensive list. The most notorious was that of Canadians Dominic and Annunziata Lanero, slain in their fourth floor room at the Barcelo Maya Beach Resort in Cancun, five-star hotel on February 20, 2006, after attending the wedding of their daughter Lily. More than a year later, with no progress in that brutal murder of the Laneros, without any breakthrough in the disappearance of Dana Rishpy, Quintana Roo residents wonder how long will extortion, inefficiency and tortuous application of justice continue in the State.