A Toronto neurosurgeon has been charged with first-degree murder after the body of his wife, physician and University of Toronto assistant professor Elana Shamji, 40, was found in a suitcase in Vaughan, Ont., Thursday afternoon.

Mohammed Shamji, 40, was arrested Friday evening at a coffee shop in Mississauga, Toronto police Det. Sgt. Steve Ryan told reporters. 

York Regional Police said his wife's body was found at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the area of Howland Drive and Nashville Road, west of Highway 27. 

Police say the couple, who had been married for 12 years, were having marital problems and believe the woman's death was "a deliberate act." A post-mortem examination Friday revealed Shamji's cause of death to be strangulation and blunt-force trauma. 

"It's different in the sense that both the deceased and the accused are both such respected doctors in the community. It's a sad case," Ryan told reporters.

Vaughan murder

York Regional Police say the body was found at 3:30 p.m. in the area of Howland Drive and Nashville Road, west of Highway 27. (CBC )

Elana Shamji was a family physician with Scarborough General Hospital. The couple had three young children, who are now in the care of their grandmother, Ryan said.

Homicide investigators became involved in the case after it was revealed that Shamji hadn't shown up to work Wednesday. She was reported missing by her mother. 

"You've got three children that are now without their mom and their dad," Ryan said. 

Mohammed Shamji is scheduled to appear in court at Old City Hall on Saturday morning.

Homicide investigators are now looking to speak with colleagues, friends and neighbours who knew the couple. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-7400 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477.