The four people found dead in a Markham, Ont., home over the weekend came from three generations of what appeared to be a happy family, friends said Tuesday, as they mourned the victims of what police called a quadruple homicide.
The dead were identified by friends as Malesa Zaman, her father Moniruz Zaman, mother Momtaz Zaman, and grandmother. Police haven’t named the victims, nor have they said what relationship exists between them or Menhaz Zaman, a 23-year-old who has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder.
Robin Islam, who called himself a long-time friend of the Zamans, said the young man who has been charged was the son of Moniruz and Momtaz Zaman. Islam said the family was a social one and enjoyed spending time with friends.
“They were always very happy, nice and decent family,” the 45-year-old said. “We’d sit in the same corner and we’d talk, we’d go to family barbecues.”
Islam said the older Zamans moved to Canada from Bangladesh in the 80s, hoping for a better life. Moniruz Zaman and Momtaz Zaman were “very much” in love, he said, and recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with almost 200 friends and family last month.
Menhaz Zaman made a slide show for the party and “said nice things about his parents,” Islam said.
The family friend described Momtaz Zaman as a “charming woman” who was constantly smiling, who loved to cook and take pictures. Islam said Moniruz Zaman was a “very quiet, soft-speaking, polite gentleman.” Islam said they would often sit and discuss politics.
News of the deaths had come as a complete shock, Islam said.
“I’m just dead,” he said. ”I can’t believe it. I cannot sleep, I cannot eat, I cannot walk. I feel like they’re still right beside me, they’re talking to me. It’s so scary.”
A woman who created an online fundraiser to raise money for the funeral costs also described what happened as “tragic.”
Afnan Alibaccas, who created the gofundme account, said she was a close friend of Malesa Zaman and had known her for more than 12 years.
“We first met in the third grade and I’ve grown with her ever since. She’s been my go-to for as long as I can remember,” Alibaccas wrote on the site. “She had the sweetest heart and was always willing to listen and care for everyone she knew.”
Emmera Riaz, a former basement tenant in the Zaman home, also said she had fond memories of the family and described them as very involved with the Bangladeshi community.
“It was just a wonderful family,” she said.
Meanwhile, Beck Taxi said it was “devastated” by the death of Moniruz Zaman, who had been an employee with the cab company since 2011.
York Regional Police have said they were called to the Markham home shortly after 3 p.m. Sunday after receiving a 911 call reporting possible injuries.
They said Menhaz Zaman opened the door to investigators and was taken into custody shortly afterwards.