Watch above: A small community is dealing with another blow, after a triple murder there last December. A mother, father and daughter were killed and their farm house was ravaged by fire. Now, one of the men charged with the deaths is a family member. Shallima Maharaj reports.
EDMONTON – Alberta RCMP say they feel very strongly there was an element of planning and pre-meditation on the part of two men who have been charged with the deaths of three Alberta family members.
Jason Klaus, 38, and Joshua Frank, 29, have both been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Gordon, Sandra and Monica Klaus near Castor, Alberta in December 2013.
“Yesterday, RCMP investigators and our emergency response team arrested Jason Klaus, who is the son to Gordon and Sandra, and brother to Monica – the victims in this particular matter – and also Joshua Frank, who is a friend and associate of Jason Klaus,” said Inspector Tony Hamori with the Alberta RCMP Serious Crimes Branch.
Hamori says Klaus was arrested at his sister Monica’s residence in Stettler. Frank was arrested at his brother’s residence in Castor.
The remains of Klaus’s father and sister, Gordon and Monica Klaus, were found in the rubble of a burned-out farmhouse near Castor last December.
His mother, Sandra Klaus, wasn’t found but RCMP have said that they believe she also died in the fire.
“It’s our belief that her remains were consumed in the fire,” Hamori said Saturday.
Since the fire, RCMP have received many tips and leads in the case. Hamori says both Klaus and Frank surfaced as suspects early on in the eight-month investigation.
“Jason Klaus was deemed to be a suspect quite early in the investigation. Joshua Frank became a suspect a little bit later on in the timeline,” explained Hamori.
“We feel very strongly there was an element of planning and pre-meditation in this particular case.”
Hamori says the investigation has involved many specialized units, including a dive team which was brought in from B.C. He says the team was deployed near Big Knife Provincial Park on July 26 and 27 to recover “a key piece of evidence in the investigation.”
Hamori would not say what the piece of evidence was, apart from calling it “very significant.”
WATCH: Inspector Tony Hamori addresses the media about charges laid in central Alberta triple murder
Both men have also been charged with one count of arson. Frank faces a further charge of causing cruelty to animals in the shooting death of a dog that was found dead at the Castor-area property.
RCMP say they are not looking for any other suspects. Klaus and Frank are scheduled to appear in Red Deer Provincial Court on Monday.
Wtih files from The Canadian Press.
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