The confusion arose when the remains of two women, charred beyond recognition, were mistaken for a single body.
The remains of a woman believed to have been abducted by the Hamas terror group on October 7 were found in the interred grave of another woman after a piece of her jewelry was discovered weeks later.
The tragedy of Shani Gabay, a victim of the horrific terrorist attack by Hamas on October 7, unfolded in a sequence of painful revelations and errors. Gabay was among the attendees at the Supernova rave when Hamas terrorists stormed in, unleashing a massacre that claimed over 350 lives at the scene and approximately 1,200 across southern Israel. Gabay was later thought to have been abducted to Gaza along with more than 240 others.
As rockets rained down, 25-year-old Gabay, who had recently graduated Tel Aviv University’s school of law, pulled over in her car near Kibbutz Alumim, close to the festival site, seeking refuge in a field shelter. Unknown to her, the terrorists were already attacking the partygoers. Despite being shot, Gabay managed to flee the shelter, finding temporary safety in an ambulance with other survivors. However, their respite was short-lived as the ambulance was targeted by a rocket-propelled grenade, resulting in the death of all occupants.
For weeks, the Gabay family lived under the harrowing impression that Shani had been kidnapped and was being held captive in Gaza because authorities were unable to locate any trace of her. This belief persisted until a chance discovery of her charred necklace shaped like a half-moon, buried in the debris of the Supernova festival, changed everything.
“We concluded that Shani was missing, there was no sign of life from her, and as the days passed and she wasn’t found among the bodies, we began to believe that she had been kidnapped,” Shani’s brother Aviel, told the Ynet news site. “We became involved in the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, we held meetings in Israel and around the world… we believed that Shani was taken hostage and wondered what she was going through in captivity.”
Her necklace, which was unearthed on the 47th day of her assumed captivity, bore a high concentration of Gabay’s DNA, a clue that finally led to the unraveling of her fate. The police, upon examining the necklace further, also found a lower concentration of another woman’s DNA. This led to the exhumation of the other woman’s grave, where a CT scan revealed two skulls. “A dentist then examined the two skulls and clearly identified teeth belonging to Shani,” Aviel explained.
The authorities “admitted they had made a big mistake and that they had buried Shani on the first week of the war together with another young woman,” Aviel Gabay revealed. The confusion arose when the remains of the two women, found together in the burned-out ambulance and charred beyond recognition, were mistaken for a single body.
Shani Gabay was finally laid to rest just days before what would have been her 26th birthday in a ceremony attended by mourners in the northern Israeli town of Yokne’am.
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EDITORS NOTE: This World Israel News column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.