When Julie Pearson, a British national living in the southern Israeli city of Eilat, was found dead last November, all signs pointed to her violent boyfriend, Amjad Khatib.
A report by Israeli police, however, suggests that the cause of death was not murder, but an extremely rare medical condition, The Telegraph reported on Monday.
In 2014 Pearson moved to Israel, looking to claim citizenship based on her paternal grandmother’s Jewish heritage and past residence in Jerusalem prior to the founding of the state.
Pearson failed, however, to secure citizenship, and was later arrested for overstaying her tourist visa.
After falling into a vicious cycle of alcoholism and drug abuse, she found herself living in a slum in Eilat, sharing a room with strangers.
During this period she met and began a relationship with Khatib, an Arab from eastern Jerusalem with a lengthy criminal record.
Neighbors noted that the relationship was marred by constant domestic abuse. One neighbor, Shelly, claimed she had witnessed Khatib repeatedly slamming Pearson’s head into the front door.
The British press closely followed the case, which lingered for four months from Pearson’s death until the Israeli police report.
While Israeli police acknowledge that Pearson had been severely beaten by Khatib less than a day prior to her death, pathologists insist that her death was the result of natural causes, specifically an extremely rare condition which caused stomach bleeding.
Pearson’s family was skeptical of the report, claiming that she had never given any indication she was suffering from a stomach condition. The family has suggested that perhaps it was the violent attacks by her boyfriend that exacerbated her condition and led to her death.
No follow-up autopsy for a second opinion may be conducted, as Pearson’s body was cremated after it was returned to the family.