A Calgary woman found dead in the same bedroom as the bodies of three infants last year had lied to her common-law husband about having an abortion, a search warrant obtained by CBC News reveals.
Harnek Mahal found the body of his common-law wife, Harsimrat Kahlon, 27, on Oct. 4, 2009, face down on the floor of a bedroom in their rented basement suite in northeast Calgary. Kahlon's death is not considered suspicious.
Over the subsequent three days, the bodies of three infants were found — by police and relatives — hidden in the bedroom, according to a search warrant filed by Calgary police and obtained by CBC News on Thursday.
When Mahal and family members returned to the house on Taracove Estates Drive N.E. the day after Kahlon's death, they found a suitcase with a tied-up garbage bag inside that contained a strong smell and an unfamiliar liquid. They called police.
The officers who responded found a dead infant inside the bag. A few hours later, police were called again when Mahal's sister discovered the body of an infant boy in a garbage bag inside a box.
'It is not uncommon for triplets to share one placenta.' —Search warrant filed by Calgary police
On Oct. 7, 2009, the medical examiner's office found the body of a third infant among garbage bags that had been seized for further examination.
A placenta was found with one of the infants. "It is not uncommon for triplets to share one placenta," said the search warrant.
Investigators believe the infants were born in the Taradale basement suite because of evidence found there, including a cut garden hose that may have been used "as a crude instrument to aid in birth."
Doctors suspect the infants had been dead for about two to three months.
Kahlon missed abortion appointment
Mahal found out that his common-law wife was pregnant in early 2009, according to the document. But the couple decided to get an abortion, he told investigators.
Kahlon's doctor had booked an ultrasound and abortion for her, but the woman missed both appointments, according to information in the search warrant.
Mahal believed Kahlon had gone through with the abortion, but police believe she hid her pregnancy and the subsequent births.
The couple slept in separate bedrooms. Mahal told police that a strong odour had been coming from Kahlon's bedroom for two or three months, which they tried to mask with air fresheners.
Whereabouts of daughter unknown
Kahlon had been pregnant before. According to provincial records, she gave birth to a healthy girl named Reem Kahlon on Dec. 19, 2005, at the Peter Lougheed Centre, but no father's name is included in the report.
"At this time, the whereabouts of the infant born on Dec. 19, 2005, are unknown," reads the search warrant sworn by a police detective on Oct. 7, 2009.
Authorities don't believe the bodies of the three infants found in October include Reem Kahlon.
Autopsies last fall could not determine the cause of the death of either the infants or of Harsimrat Kahlon. The results of further tests are pending.
Preliminary examination of the first two infants indicates they were likely alive at some point as they had oxygen in their lungs or stomach. However, that is inconclusive until further testing can be completed.
Kahlon was reportedly born in India and grew up in Winnipeg before moving to Calgary to live with relatives. She worked at a law firm in Calgary.
The couple moved into the basement suite in 2006. Their landlord and neighbours said they had no idea Kahlon was pregnant.