Toronto police have charged a U of T prof with first-degree murder after a passerby discovered an adult woman’s body in a suitcase near a ravine in Kleinberg on December 1.

Mohammed Shamji, an Assistant Professor of Surgery at U of T’s Faculty of Medicine, was arrested on December 2 and charged for first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Dr. Elena Fric-Shamji, who also held the status of Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Medicine.

The police found Shamji at a coffee shop in Mississauga on December 2, when they took him into custody.

Strangulation and blunt force trauma were the causes of death. Investigators believe that Fric-Shamji was murdered at her home in North York at some time between the night of November 30 and the morning of December 1. She was reported missing by her mother on December 1.

“She was last heard from Wednesday evening, that was the last time anyone heard from her,” said Detective Sgt. Steve Ryan, during a press conference on December 2. Ryan did not state a motive but claimed that “there were problems in their marriage.” Shamji’s wife had recently filed for a divorce.

Shamji appeared in court on December 3. He has been remanded until December 20.

Shamji, a neurosurgeon, worked at the Toronto Western Hospital while Fric-Shamji, a family physician, worked at The Scarborough Hospital.

The couple was married for approximately 12 years. They had three children together, who are currently with their maternal grandmother.

“It’s a sad case, you’ve got three children who are now without their mom and their dad,” said Ryan.

Dr. Virginia Walley, President of the Ontario Medical Association, issued a statement regarding the physician’s death, calling her “a talented family physician who was active in many efforts to improve the health-care system.”

“We are all stunned by the tragic news of [her] untimely death,” Walley’s statement continues. “At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with her family, her friends, and her colleagues.”