Shafia family trip detoured to water

A family trip that ended with four people dead began with a circuitous jaunt to an area someone had searched for numerous times on the family computer, alongside searches about murder.

A family trip that ended with four people dead at the bottom of a canal began with a circuitous jaunt to an area someone had searched for numerous times on the family computer alongside searches about murder.

The Shafia family left their home in Montreal on June 23, 2009 for a trip to Niagara Falls, Ont., but did not travel a direct route west toward Ottawa, court heard Friday.

Cellphone mapping displayed in court shows that they instead went about 450 kilometres out of their way to Grand-Remous, Que., on the Gatineau River.

The murder trial has previously heard numerous searches were done throughout June for areas with bodies of water on a laptop used primarily by the son.

Starting on June 19, many of those searches were for the Grand-Remous area, court has heard.

The cellphone analysis, presented by Kingston police Det. Steve Koopman, also found that the son, or at least his cellphone, was in Grand-Remous on June 20 and returned to the family home some time after 7 p.m.

One of the laptop searches the court has previously heard about was for "where to commit a murder," conducted that same day.

Visited Niagara Falls

Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 41, her husband Mohammad Shafia, 58, and their son Hamed, 20, are on trial for four counts each of first-degree murder. They have all pleaded not guilty.

The Crown alleges they killed three teenage Shafia sisters and Shafia's first wife in a polygamous marriage over family honour.

Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, Geeti, 13, and Rona Amir Mohammad, 50, were found dead in a car submerged at the bottom of a set of locks in the Rideau Canal in Kingston, Ont., on June 30, 2009.

The Crown alleges the three accused staged the scene to look like the girls and Mohammad had accidentally driven into the water.

The cellphone analysis shows that after the Shafias went far out of their way to Grand-Remous, they continued straight to Niagara Falls, where they stayed until June 29.

However, the analysis also shows that on June 27 Hamed's cellphone was in the Kingston area.

The jury has seen Hamed in a post-arrest interrogation insist that his cellphone was with him during the whole family trip, but that he has no idea why it was tracked to Kingston mid-vacation.

Koopman also analyzed the activity on Sahar's cellphone, which the teenager used frequently throughout the trip.

But after she ends a phone call around 11:30 p.m. on June 29 near Ajax, Ont., east of Toronto, all subsequent phone calls go to voicemail and she doesn't answer any text messages, Koopman testified.

Passages from Rona Amir Mohammad's diary (evidence submitted at trial):