TORONTO – The lead detective in the gruesome murder of an Ontario doctor says the killer made a big mistake while trying to hide the crime, leaving investigators a calling card that led them straight to his door.
The homicide officer solving the Dr. Elana Frick-Shamji massacre wonders if the respected family doctor would still be alive today if friends and co-workers had talked about domestic abuse in their Toronto home.
“All her friends, all doctors, highly educated successful people at the height of her career, they knew or suspected that she was being physically abused by her husband and said nothing,” said Steve Ryan, now at CP24 is a crime analyst. , said in this week’s episode of Granthshala News Toronto’s podcast The Detective.
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Frick-Shamji’s husband, renowned neurosurgeon Mohammad Shamji, is serving a life sentence for beating and strangling his wife, then stuffing her body in a suitcase and dumping her into a river north of the city.
“Physical abuse, domestic abuse knows no bounds,” Ryan said. “It doesn’t matter if you are poor, uneducated, or have a lot of money. Unfortunately, no one spoke up and told that she was being abused as badly as she was “
Shamaz killed his wife in a North York bedroom in the winter of 2016, after she told her husband, age 12, that she wanted to end the marriage.
“The night she was killed was the night she served her husband with divorce papers, letting him know we were over,” Ryan said.
Ryan says that Frick-Shamji’s mother, Anna Frick, was concerned for her daughter’s safety and tried to help with the divorce process.
“Ellana’s mom called her from Windsor and said ‘I’ll come down with you when you serve her those papers,’ because her mom kind of had a feeling it wasn’t going to be right,” Ryan said. “I’ll quote Mom, she told me, what Elana said to her, ‘Mom, she’s not going to kill me, you don’t have to come from Windsor, I’m just serving her with papers’ and see What happened.”
Neither was happy in marriage and both were having an affair, Frick-Shamji with a fellow doctor.
Ryan says that after his murder, the detective had to contact the doctor and his wife, who knew nothing about the case.
“So she started seeing a man and his name came up because that’s when the police took the missing person report and they interviewed Mohammed’s husband.”
Frick-Shamji’s mother had lodged a missing report with the police. Then the detectives interviewed Shamji.
“She said she last saw him on Wednesday night when she went out with her boyfriend. She provided us with a name and we had to follow up on that, uncomfortable as it was, you always have to look at your alternate suspects.” Will be,” Ryan said.
It was before Frick-Shamji’s husband was charged with her murder, and while, at the time, was pointing the blame at his wife’s boyfriend, Ryan says that Shamji’s defense attorney was early in the trial. Will try to take advantage of it.
“As a homicide detective, you need to look down the street. What is the defense going to be? What’s going to happen, I didn’t do it, did this guy? So we had to approach him and do as you imagine I can say he was quite upset because his wife didn’t know what was going on and he gave us an alibi, but then we had to talk to his wife.
If Shamji’s defense would be blaming his wife’s boyfriend, he would need an airtight alibi, but the doctor wanted to keep the affair with his wife.
“So we gave him a little time to talk to his wife and settle with her and then we had to talk to her because we needed an alibi from her,” Ryan said. “He was upset when we contacted him, but I told him that if we don’t do that now, you’re going to be the prime suspect. You’ll be in the witness box forever. They’re going to accuse you of all kinds.” are leaving, so we need to strengthen your bibi right now.”
After the body is dumped in the suitcase, the cop who committed the murder says that Shamji tried to drive the police away from him, trying to keep everything as normal as possible, even calling a divorce lawyer. For also.
“He comes home, makes breakfast for the kids, takes them to school and goes to work, sees patients. Later that day, he leaves a voicemail for the divorce lawyer. In which he says, and I am explaining, ‘My wife wants a divorce, I am going to give her half of what I have got. Here’s my name, call me’ and he hung up.”
From outside, Ryan says that Shamji seems to be in for an idyllic life.
Both well-known doctors live in an upscale neighborhood of North York renovated bungalows and bungalows where the bungalows used to be. Shamji Ghar was a two-storey brick-and-stone reconstruction.
“This house is, such a big beautiful house,” says Ryan, pointing to the house that is now occupied by the new owners.
“The one thing a homicide officer will tell you is that you quickly learn that things are not always as they appear. For example, you look at this big beautiful house, you have a couple, charming The couple are both at the height of their careers, both doctors, successful doctors. Three beautiful kids, they’re the envy of a lot of people. But she lived the life of hell no matter what he was doing to her, even she Was abusing repeatedly.”
The children thought that violence in the home was normal, that all families experienced it and that it would get better. Never thought that his father could kill his mother.
Has three children, two girls and one boy. But it was the eldest girl, then 11 years old, who witnessed the violent attack on her mother.
“A daughter, her bedroom is supported on her mom and dad, so she heard the fight that was going on, in fact she came out of her room, stood in the entrance of her parents’ room and pushed her father on the floor. Saw on hands and knees,” Ryan said.
“She couldn’t see her mother, but she could see her father. Her father was on one side of the bed on the floor between the bed and the window. I believe he was assaulting her at the time.” was or was strangling her, the situation the daughter described at the time. She said ‘What’s going on? Where is the mother and her father said ‘Go back to your room, okay.’ She went back to her room, and then she heard the rustle in the cell, because it turned out she was getting the suitcase. That’s exactly what her daughter heard.”
Shamji would then stuff his wife’s badly beaten body into a suitcase and load it into his car, so that he would look for a place to dump the body.
“You’d be surprised how a body can bend and twist. This suitcase, this woman was placed in, wasn’t that big, but she managed.”
The former investigator says it was clear the killer had no plans, and when they searched his cell phone records, he saw her driving across the country trying to find a location to get rid of the body. Showed up.
“Look at this,” says Ryan, “he’s got his dead wife in his car and wants to dump her body. So we took her all the way down Highway 50, coming along Nashville Road down 50. And I think he chose this place here because he’s on his way to Highway 27 and he’s going back home. So I think he took this place completely out of panic and he took his body. thrown over the bridge.
Ryan, who did 13 years in Toronto’s Homicide Squad, recently returned to the bridge in Kleinburg, an hour north of Toronto, where Shamji threw a suitcase and his dead wife into the Humber River.
“One tries to dump a body, I say this based on people I’ve interviewed in the past, where they can’t be found, clearly they can be found in the Humber River. Given that this man was a neurosurgeon, academically brilliant, not so talented at knowing how to hide a crime.”
The body was discovered the day Shamji disposed of it.
“So I believe a fireman was taking his dog down here and he came in the suitcase the morning after he was dropped on the bridge and called the police because he found it suspicious. The police ran, Opened the suitcase and found a badly beaten body of a woman in a suitcase. So they started their investigation and tried to identify who she was.”
In his haste to get rid of his wife’s body, the neurosurgeon made a big mistake, and left investigators a calling card.
“So his name I believe was on the suitcase or not and his address was on the suitcase. Again he goes into a panic of what he was in. He clearly didn’t think anything of it because everything he touched was there.” We had a clue. He left his wife’s body in a suitcase with her name and address.
This leads directly to the murder at his door, Ryan says.
But first, Ryan says he needs to formally identify the family to the badly beaten body.
The fact that his name was on the suitcase made it easier for everyone? I asked the detective.
“We knew what we were dealing with from that point on. We still had to make an identification, so we have her name. And it was our mom who gave us her daughter’s name, which matched what’s on the suitcase. Us Still mom had to show her a picture of her. So we show her a picture because we need to know one way or the other whether it’s her daughter or not. We showed her a picture of her daughter from the morgue with her chest up and she almost was unrecognizable. But her mother didn’t recognize her.”
“I’ll never forget when her mom looked at the picture she dropped on her knees and said ‘It’s not that, it doesn’t look like her’ and her husband said ‘Yeah, it’s him’ and so on We knew.”
Ryan says his team was closing in on their suspect.