A St. Leonard father, mother and eldest brother have been charged with killing four members of their own family.

Mohammed Shafia, mother Tooba Yahya Mohammed, and brother Hamid Mohammed-Shafia have each been charged with four counts of first degree murder and four counts of conspiracy to commit murder.

They are accused of killing 19-year-old Zainab, 17-year-old Sahar and 13-year-old Geeti Shafia, as well as 52-year-old Rona Amir Mohammed.

The bodies of the two women and two girls were found in a car submerged in the Kingston Mills locks on June 30, 2009.

Kingston police Chief Stephen Tanner told reporters he was saddened at the "needless and senseless loss of innocent human lives."

"The four victims in this case, three of which were only teenaged girls, all shared the rights within our great country - to live without fear, to enjoy safety and security, and to exercise freedom of choice and expression - and yet had their lives cut short by members of their own family," he said.

Police said that before their murders, Zainab and Rona had been receiving death threats for what they say were social, cultural and family reasons.

Kingston police held a moment of silence before giving more details on the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the four victims.


After the deaths, Mohammed Shafia told police and reporters that Zanaib liked to take the car on joyrides, despite not having a license, and had probably done the same the night she died.

Lead investigator Brian Begbie said "our investigation to date reveals this particular allegation was false and that on the night in question, the vehicle was operated by a combination of the three accused persons."

"It also reveals that during the early morning hours of June 30th, Hamed Shafia left Kingston in one vehicle and returned to Montreal, only to drive back to Kingston and file a missing persons report with his parents."

First wife?

Initially, when the elder Shafia told police about his missing family members, he said Rona Amir Mohammed was a cousin. At the press conference, police said investigators later received information that "cause[d them] to believe Rona is his first wife."

Reports of her status as his first wife have been circulating in the media. The Kingston Whig Standard reported that a relative sent Kingston Police a photo of their wedding in Afghanistan.

Mohammed married Rona 30 years ago in Afghanistan, but when she couldn't have Children, Mohammed married Tooba and had seven children.


Police said the arrests took time because multiple police forces were involved in the investigation, including the RCMP and the Ontario Provincial Police.

They said one of the members of the family had plans to travel to a foreign country, but would not specify who.

Police confirmed the other three children are in the custody of Montreal child protective services, and that a police officer would be assigned to them.