Crime Beat: Fatal façade — the murder of Dr. Elana Fric

Jasmine Fric aspires to become a Crown attorney prosecuting domestic abusers in the future.

She is driven by the haunting memory of her “wonderful mom,” Dr. Elana Fric.

Jasmine’s father,  Dr. Mohammed Shamji, murdered Dr. Fric in the bedroom beside Jasmine’s in their North York home.

The eldest daughter will never forget her mom’s last scream, which Jasmine heard on the night of Nov. 30, 2016.

READ MORE: (May 8, 2019) Family of murdered Toronto physician ‘destroyed’ and ‘heartbroken,’ court hears

Jasmine was spared the trauma of reliving the horrendous moment on the witness stand because her father pleaded guilty in 2019 to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment with no chance of parole for 14 years

“It sounds cliché, but I want to bring justice to light,” said Jasmine, now 15, in her Windsor-area home where she lives with two younger siblings, Faisa and Marius, in the care of their grandparents, Ana and Joseph Fric.

You can watch ‘Crime Beat: Fatal façade — the murder of Dr. Elana Fric’ this Saturday evening, Nov. 14 on Global TV. Check your local listings.

“I want people who are as bad as him to get the consequences, like go to jail, and not be able to hurt other people,” said Jasmine, who sounds much older and self-assured than her 15 years. “I want to be a prosecutor.”

Two days after Fric served Shamji with divorce papers, she was murdered.

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“She believed he wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize his career,” said Ana Fric, Elana’s mother.

Shamji and Fric were married in 2004, but their 12-year union was volatile and allegedly marred by Shamji’s emotional, psychological and occasionally physical abuse of his wife.

“In May 2005, Ottawa police service investigated what at the time was an assault investigation, and it was between Elana and Mohammad. And what Elana had told the police officers at the time was that she had been assaulted by Mohammed and she had received injuries to her face,” said Det. Andy Singh of the Toronto Police Service.

She told officers that her lip was split by a blow from her husband, Singh said, adding that her husband had also threatened her and a young child who was only a few weeks old at the time.

But a few months later, Elana and Mohammed would reconcile and the criminal charges Mohammed had been facing were withdrawn. Instead, he entered into a peace bond with 12 months probation.

Courtesy Ana Fric

“Elana would do anything and everything not to jeopardize his career and his happiness,” Ana Fric said. “So she signed that peace bond, hoping and thinking that will resolve everything and that maybe from there, they can go on and have a life and have a marriage and be a family.”

Elana Fric moved to end the marriage in November 2016.

“Elana endured 12 years of domestic violence,” Ana Fric said. “I also now know he had choked her during an argument until she was unconscious.”

READ MORE: (April 19, 2019) Elana Fric was killed after filing for divorce. How do we make leaving less dangerous?

Meanwhile, Jasmine says she was a spectator to the abusive home life.

“Now I really recognize those kinds of red flags and people, like the way my dad treated my mom,” Jasmine said.

“I recognize that now, you know, it was going to be hell. But you know, I can see when other people are like him, controlling and cruel.“

Courtesy Ana Fric

Jasmine was an ear-witness to the grisly killing and would have been a pivotal prosecution witness had the case proceeded to trial without the guilty plea.

Jasmine recalled hearing a loud argument coming from her parents’ bedroom — which “wasn’t out of place because it happened a lot.

“But then I heard a loud bang and then the scream. And then there was silence,” she told Global News.

“At first, I kind of just listened, like I wanted to hear her talking again. But that didn’t really happen. It was too quiet.”

Jasmine walked into her parents’ bedroom to ask what was going on.

Toronto Police Service

“I saw my dad, like, kneeling, behind the bed, like over something I couldn’t see because it was out of my sight,” the precocious 15-year-old said.

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“And then I asked him what was happening. He told me to go to my room. And then I just did.”

She had not seen her father look like that before.

“He looked really frightened. Really frantic, like he had done something really bad,” she said.

“I was really frightened. I didn’t know what was happening. I could usually hear if they were watching movies or if they had gone to bed. But it was just nothing. It was complete silence, which is really odd. I was very scared and very confused.”

Click to play video: 'Crime Beat trailer: Fatal façade, the murder of Dr. Elana Fric' Crime Beat trailer: Fatal façade, the murder of Dr. Elana Fric
Crime Beat trailer: Fatal façade, the murder of Dr. Elana Fric – Nov 12, 2020

Jasmine heard some “rustling” sounds from the closet.

“And I thought that was really weird. So I went to check again.”

She witnessed her father walking from the walk-in closet as she stood in the doorway.

“And I asked what was going on again. He said my mom had gone for a walk. “

Her father’s explanation seemed strange to her, she recalled.

“It was really odd. I didn’t hear her walking down the stairs,” Jasmine said. ”Then I was upset and I went back to my room and went to sleep.“

Shamji had beaten and choked Elana Fric to death. He packed her body into the victim’s large suitcase and dropped it into the Humber River, where it was discovered by a passerby the next day.

Shamji was arrested and charged with the murder of Elana Fric. 

Jasmine never saw her mother alive again. The woman, who was a “super mom and super doctor” and who had driven her children to school every morning, had simply vanished, without a phone call and without a note.

“And the next morning, I remember waking up without mom like that,” Jasmine said.

“I think that was the big takeaway there.

“There was a really weird atmosphere. I was just, like, really scared. I went to check my parents’ room to see if maybe my mom was like sleeping in or something. But there was nothing. She wouldn’t just leave without a word.”

Jasmine attended school that day, went to her jiu-jitsu class and then returned home and went to bed.

The next day, she and her siblings were picked up from school by Toronto Police. While they were at the police station, Jasmine’s weeping grandmother broke the terrible news that her mom was gone.

“At first I didn’t really believe it,” Jasmine said. “And then it kind of dawned on me that it was true. “

She dreaded the terrifying prospect of testifying at trial.

“I just remember not knowing how it’s going to end because he didn’t really confess (plead guilty) until the last minute,” Jasmine said.

“I was really scared about having to, you know, be on the witness stand and kind of recall what happened, especially in front of him,” Jasmine said.

She especially missed her mom when she started high school.

Courtesy Ana Fric

“I don’t really have someone to guide me, especially starting high school,” she said.

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“I was really nervous about that because the only people that I have (are) like my grandma and my aunt, and they finished high school so long ago.”

Jasmine reflects on her fond memories of her mom.

“I remember her joking a lot, like she was a really happy person despite what was going on,” said Jasmine, adding her mom jokingly called her “Mini-Me.”

”I usually picture her being happy with me as a kid.“

She said her grandparents, who treat Jasmine and her siblings like their own children, “really want me to be like her.

“Sometimes we kind of feel that we have to. We’re expected to be exactly like her. And that’s not a bad thing in and of itself. But sometimes you want to differ. We want to be our own person.“

Jasmine said she was motivated to speak for two reasons.

“Domestic abuse is a very important issue to me and I wanted to shed a light on it. I was a key witness in this case and I wanted to describe my account fully,” said Jasmine, who has blossomed into a young adult since the 2016 murder and has especially matured in the last two years.

As a 15-year-old, she was recruited by a local optician and helped manage his office this past summer.

“I also wanted to keep my mom’s legacy and her hard work in public health policy alive and in the public eye,” Jasmine said.

“I wanted people to know more about my mom beyond the tragedy and preserve her legacy so that even more people would know about that aspect of her life.”

Dr. Elana Fric, who has an award named after her at Scarborough General Hospital, was considered an excellent physician and rising star in policy.

Dr. Samantha Hill, Ontario Medical Association president, said she wouldn’t have been surprised that her friend Elana “didn’t end up in my chair.

“She wasn’t power-hungry or anything like that. She was just so well respected and liked that it would have been a natural progression for her,” Dr. Hill said.

“But you know, being compared to my mom isn’t really a bad thing,” Jasmine said.

“At her core, my mom was a great person. If she were here, she’d be proud of me. And that kind of makes me happy.“