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The Motive: why did 'the boy' do it and where is he now?

The unnamed teenager killed his family in 1986

Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
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Viewers can't stop discussing Netflix's new true-crime documentary The Motive, which looks at the murders of Nissim and Leah Cohen and their daughters Anat and Shira in Jerusalem in 1986.

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The Israeli documentary follows the investigation into Nissim and Leah's 14-year-old son, who confessed to committing the murders, and why he would commit such atrocities. But what was the anonymous teen's motive, and where is he now? Here's what we know…

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'The boy' as he is known throughout the documentary, claimed that a green monster told him to murder his parents and sisters. Any other reason behind the murders are not revealed in the documentary, though his lawyer, Yossi, alludes to other theories. In the series, he is asked whether reports of abuse and incest in the family were true, to which he replied: "No comment."

Viewers have shared their own theories on why the boy killed his family, with one writing: "I mean the motive to me seems obvious. He was the youngest so would inherit the least. He eliminated the family because he knew he’d inherit all the money and be out of prison early enough to enjoy it. That’s probably what he was calculating on the calculator."


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Another added: "What's the motive of the murders? He KNEW he was intelligent. Everyone around him KNEW he was intelligent. So he wanted to challenge himself and see if he could get away with the most difficult thing to get away from, murdering his family."

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The teen's identity has always remained anonymous, and so it is impossible to say where he is since committing the crime. The documentary revealed that he received nine years in prison for manslaughter, and was let out after six years for good behaviour. According to The Cinemaholic, he worked in finance before his identity was discovered following the documentary's release, and let go from his position.

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