A world renowned Toronto neurosurgeon has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the brutal slaying of his doctor wife.
Dr. Elana Fric Shamji, 40, was found slain near the Humber River in Kleinburg Thursday afternoon but it wasn’t until 8 p.m. Friday that the remains were positively identified as the woman who was reported missing from her North York home Thursday.
While a region-wide search was on for his missing wife, Dr. Mohammed Shamji, 40, a Yale-educated medical star who has been featured on television and is a University Health Network doctor, was in a Mississauga coffee shop at Hwy. 10 and Lake Shore Blvd. E. with his brother meeting with his lawyer when he got a tap on his shoulder. The couple have three young children. Toronto Police had been keeping an eye on Mohammed Shamji while an autopsy was being done on the body and a forensics investigation was being completed.
“He was arrested without incident,” said homicide Det.-Sgt. Steve Ryan. “He was immediately transported to 32 Division. He will be appearing in Old City Hall courts Saturday morning to be formally charged with first-degree murder.”
Other than to say what a “terrible, terrible tragedy for this family, their children and the whole community” Ryan did not comment on the details on he investigation.
But police sources say it is alleged that after a loud argument, the Scarborough Hospital physician was strangled and struck with a blunt force object while in the garage of the couple’s Verwood Ave. home before her lifeless body was put in a suitcase and transported to York Region where it was dumped near Nashville Rd. and Hwy. 27 in Kleinberg.
Sources say the suitcase belonged to the victim’s mother — the same one that she brought her belongings to Canada in from her native Croatia decades ago.
Police have sealed and cordoned off the large, modern brick home with yellow police tape and forensics plan to be on the scene again Saturday. Sources say the victim’s car is in the garage and her mother told officers and neighbours that there were leaves and mud on the interior.
Many on the quiet and peaceful residential street in the Bathurst St. and Sheppard Ave. W. area were shaken, first with the disappearance and later with the news the woman found was indeed the popular doctor.
Her friends told me Elana’s mother had called police when she noticed that “three carpets” were missing from the home. The same friends were concerned abut the wellbeing of three children Yasmin, 12, Faiza, 9, and Marius, 3.
“They are now with the grandmother and staying with relatives,” said Ryan.
People on the street say Elana told them in a conversations Monday that she “had filed divorce papers” and “was in good spirits” because she was “looking toward her new life.”
On social media there is a footprint of what looks like happy times — many photographs of them together, including participating in martial arts.
One comment from Elana about her husband on a social media site said: “Two-striped Dr. Mo can break your neck and then fix.”
One friend showed pictures of the two enjoying a glass of red wine together and sharing a kiss.
Friends also said the couple were frequent guests of neighbours for dinner parties and birthday parties with the kids. She, said friends, was also very supportive of her husband’s family, who also live nearby.
But friends and police sources say there had been calls to the police in the past and he was just recently at a medical conference in a hotel where she had taken a room but no one was allowed to know the floor or room number. Police are also investigating a previous complaint she made about her husband and an alleged threat to one of her children when they were living in Ottawa.
On the street people who knew her were very upset at the news of her murder and that her husband has been charged.
“It’s very shocking,” said a friend. “She’s just a wonderful, wonderful person. She is much loved around here.”