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Charge laid in Yasmin Ashareh's death


Police say `community support' led to arrest
Jul. 29, 2006. 01:00 AM
A 32-year-old Toronto man has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the stabbing death last week of Yasmin Ashareh, a 20-year-old food store clerk whose body was found stuffed into a garbage bag.

In announcing the arrest last night, Toronto police remained tight-lipped about the circumstances that led to the suspect's arrest but credited "lots of community support" for tips that aided investigators.

Ashareh, who had just begun working at a Food Basics store on Martin Grove Rd., died of stab wounds to the neck, police said.

Her body was packed into a garbage bag and left for days at a housing complex near the store before being found July 14, when trash collectors were removing garbage from the housing complex, on John Garland Blvd. south of Finch Ave. W.

One area resident said the baghad been on the site since about July 11.

"It smelled like fish, or meat, or something," the resident said, "but it wasn't that."

Police said the trash collectors realized something was wrong when they began shifting the bag, and noticed its weight and a foul odour.

Toronto police Det. Wayne Banks, in announcing the arrest, quelled rumours that Ashareh was killed because she was pregnant and running away from her family.

"There's absolutely no proof that she was killed as part of a shame killing, or that she was pregnant," Banks said.

At an earlier news conference, Banks told reporters Ashareh had not been stabbed to death in the alley where her body was found, although her remains had been there for "several" days.

The dead woman, the city's 39th homicide of 2006, had recently finished night school classes and lived alone in a rented room near the complex where her body was found. She had not been reported missing.

Banks said the suspect was arrested in Rexdale at about 2:15 p.m. yesterday.

Banks said the man is known to police and is currently facing other criminal charges in other matter. He refused to elaborate about that.

Kori Willis, assistant manager at the Food Basics where Ashareh worked, said earlier in the week that she had worked at the store only a few weeks but was well liked by her co-workers.

Police say Ashareh was born in Canada, but her family, who live in Peel Region, is from Somalia. The dead woman's relatives include a brother, two sisters and her mother.

The family was "devastated" on hearing word of Ashareh's death, Banks said, recounting how police had to check dental records to confirm her identity because family members "still don't want to come to grips that this is their daughter."

Charged with first-degree murder is William Imona-Russel, 32, of Toronto. He is scheduled to appear at Old City Hall Court today.
Source: Toronto Star, July 29, 2006



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