Published : Tuesday, 30 July, 2019 at 2:58 PM, Count : 181
Police have arrested a 23-year old Bangladeshi youth with suspected links to killing four members of his family, including parents, in Canada.
The incident took place at a house in the Markham suburb of Toronto around 3pm (local time) on Castlemore Ave on Sunday, according to York Police spokesman Andy Pattenden.
The arrestee has been identified as Menhaz Zaman, son of Mohammad Moniruz Zaman who migrated to Canada decades ago from Tangail in Bangladesh. Menhaz along with his mother Momotaz Mukta Zaman, sister Malesa, 21, and grandmother lived in the house.
Menhaz was charged with four counts of first-degree murder appeared calm in court Monday, days after a player in an online gaming forum messaged others saying heâ€™d dropped out of university and felt like a â€œpathetic coward subhumanâ€ whoâ€™d disappointed his parents, according to The Star, a Canadian newspaper.
York Regional Police charged him after four bodies were found at the house on Sunday afternoon. The police havenâ€™t confirmed the identities of the victims or their relationship to the accused but did say they are three women and a man.
The Star has seen images of messages posted on the Discord forum â€œPerfect World Voidâ€ that were sent to a user who often played online games with a player using the name â€œMenhaz.â€
Discord is an online community used by millions of people around the world to communicate about their favourite games. The Star is choosing not to publish the disturbing messages in full.
The postings describe that he lied to his parents about going to university, and dropped out of a mechanical engineering program after failing classes in his first year. He became depressed, and lost faith in God.
â€œFor three years Ive (sic) been telling my parents i go to uni, when actually I was just hanging out at the mall four days a week,â€ the screenshots said.
â€œI donâ€™t want my parents to feel the shame of having a son like me.â€
The user, based in Israel, who provided the screenshots to the Star, said people on the forum became alarmed by the private messages and attempted to contact police.
A â€œPerfect World Voidâ€ forum post, titled the â€œMarkham Massacre,â€ said the user going by the name â€œMenhazâ€ had been a long-time online game player, according to the Star.
The post said his alleged actions shocked and saddened other players.
â€œWe thank the anonymous player who had the cleverness to trace his address, and the braveness to immediately report it to the local cops. Thanks to this act, it is highly possible that some lives have been saved.â€
The forum post added that the user â€œMenhazâ€ had been depressed and â€œmore offensive than usualâ€ on Discord and that the alleged crimes had â€œnothing to do with Perfect World or us at all.â€
Closer to home, Ammara Riaz, a former tenant of the Zaman family, said she never would have expected the young man to be accused of such crimes.
Riaz, who rented one of two basement apartments in their home for about five to six years until she moved out last year, confirmed that the people living in the house were Moniruz Zaman, his wife Momotaz, their daughter Malesa and son Menhaz, as well as a grandmother whose name Riaz didnâ€™t know. Riaz couldnâ€™t confirm the spelling of the names, but she did confirm that a profile photo on the gaming site was that of Menhaz.
Police have not confirmed that the family members are the victims.
â€œHe was such a nice, quiet, calm guy,â€ Riaz said of Menhaz. â€œI saw that guy all the time helping his parents.â€
Riaz said when she first heard the news, she was â€œshockedâ€ and convinced an outsider must be responsible because there was no way one of the family members could have committed such an act.
Then she heard Menhaz was accused.
â€œI was like, â€˜no, it canâ€™t be.â€™ Because Iâ€™ve always heard good stuff about him from his parents,â€ she said.
Police had received a call just before 3 p.m. Sunday â€œthat there were possibly multiple people injured inside the residence,â€ York Regional Police spokesman Const. Andy Pattenden said in a news conference Monday.
â€œWhen our officers arrived, they did find a man at the front door of the residence. That man was arrested and has been in custody ever since,â€ he said.
The officers who then entered the two-storey brick home found four bodies.
The area around the home was still cordoned off with yellow police tape, Monday. The front garden appeared well cared for and several flower pots hung from the second-floor balcony.
â€œThe identification process for the deceased is going to take quite some time as post-mortems need to be done by the coroner,â€ Pattenden told reporters.
â€œOnce those post-mortems are complete, we will be able to advise who the deceased are.â€
Const Laura Nicolle said Monday it doesnâ€™t appear there are any other suspects involved in the deaths.
â€œIt looks like the person responsible is in custody so we donâ€™t believe thereâ€™s any threat to public safety,â€ she said, declining to comment on the Discord posts. â€œHeâ€™s charged and he gets his time in court.â€
Menhaz appeared in court in Newmarket Monday morning and was remanded in custody. He will next appear Friday via video.
He was wearing glasses, a black T-shirt and his black hair was short and thick. The prosecutor read aloud a list of 13 people he is not allowed to contact.
The courthouse has no record of him having any previous brushes with the law.
Property records show Moniruz Zaman has owned the Markham home since at least 2004.
Riaz said she rushed to her former home before heading to work Monday when she first heard the news. She was kept out by police but she said she had to go there because â€œI had an emotional attachment to that house and that family.
â€œAt the same time I was thinking, â€˜oh my god, what if I still lived in that place, I could have been one of the victimsâ€™.â€
She said the family â€œwas very goodâ€ to her.
Riaz said she remembers Momotaz speaking fondly and proudly of her son.
She said he often helped bring in groceries and cleared snow off the entrance path for her.
Riaz lived in the home for several years before moving out in March last year when she got married.
Riaz said Momotaz was a good landlord to her, warning her when she used the electricity excessively, but also sharing traditional Bangladeshi foods with her, and chatting with her regularly.
Sheâ€™d sometimes complain her daughter wasnâ€™t paying enough mind to her studies, but she said her son was always excelling, Riaz recalled.
A man who identified homeself as a manager at a nearby Food Basics confirmed Menhazâ€™s sister Malesa worked at the store, but he didnâ€™t comment any further about how long she had been employed there. He simply said â€œthe company is very saddened by what happened. Itâ€™s very tough right now.â€
Wareesha Siddiqui went to high school with Malesa and described her as a â€œkind, caring, and intelligent,â€ 21-year-old, in a Facebook message to the Star.
â€œShe had so much potential to do such big things and itâ€™s so painful to see her go like this ... I get goosebumps thinking about the time I used to spend in that house.â€
Kristine Hubbard, operations manager for Beck Taxi Ltd., confirmed Moniruz Zaman was one of their drivers and began working for the company in 2011.
â€œWeâ€™re devastated to hear about what has happened and our thoughts are with their family and friends,â€ Hubbard said in an email. â€œItâ€™s an extremely shocking and sad time.â€
Jamal Shah, Moniruzâ€™s former employer, is struggling to come to terms with the prospect of harm coming to him as news trickles out into the tight-knit Bangladeshi community about what might have transpired inside the Markham home. Moniruz worked for Shah as a cab driver for more than three years.
â€œHeâ€™s a good person,â€ Shah said. â€œHeâ€™s a well-known person in the community. Heâ€™s a hard-working man.â€
Shah said Zaman would often mention picking up and dropping off his son to various locations throughout the winter months, but Shah only met the young man briefly.
The two men sometimes shared stories about their kids and as far as Shah remembers, Zaman had mostly positive things to say about them.
â€œThe whole community is very shaken,â€ Shah said. â€œItâ€™s like heâ€™s my brother.â€ Deshsangbad/Alo