Slain teen feared for her safety, friends say
Friends of a 16-year-old Toronto-area girl whose father has been charged with her murder say she feared for her safety in the months before she died.
Aqsa Parvez, who friends say had balked at wearing traditional Muslim clothing, died late Monday night in hospital.
In a handwritten letter placed on a tribute at Parvez's school in Mississauga, west of Toronto, friend Humza Imran said on Halloween of this year her friends were so concerned about her treatment at home they escorted the girl to her doorstep.
"You were so worried … so we all walked you home," Imran wrote.
The friend goes on to write that the Parvez family "seemed like nice people," but that Aqsa's relationship with them was clearly deteriorating.
"The last few days, I noticed there was something going on in your life, but I didn't take serious notice of it.
"I have really strong feelings against your dad."
In another letter, a friend named Shianie wrote that she had gone to police to tell them about Aqsa's home life.
Police have charged Muhammad Parvez, a 57-year-old taxi driver, with murder, but have refused to comment on a motive in the case.
The girl's friends maintain she frequently clashed with her family because she chose to wear slim-fitting, Western-style clothing and didn't want to cover her hair with the traditional hijab head scarf.
Outside the courtroom Wednesday morning, the girl's brother Shan Muhammad Parvez said the family isn't sure what exactly led to his sister's death.
"We don't know so far.… We are upset."
His mother is "sick" because of the ordeal, he added.
Dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, Muhammad Parvez appeared unemotional during his brief court appearance. He was denied bail and also ordered not to communicate with his 26-year-old son Waqas Parvez.
Police have charged Waqas Parvez with obstructing police in connection with his sister's death. He will appear in court on Friday morning for a bail hearing.
Police charged the elder Parvez with murder after his daughter died at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children on Monday.
Earlier that night, a man called 911 to say he had killed his daughter.
Contrary to some media reports, Peel Regional Police Const. Wayne Patterson said investigators have yet to determine whether Parvez will face first- or second-degree murder charges.
A publication ban was imposed on Wednesday's court proceedings, but Muhammad Parvez's lawyer Joseph Ciraco said outside court that the family is distraught.
"It's clearly a tragedy," he said. "You've got a sister that's gone and a father and brother in jail."
Ciraco added that Parvez has a heart condition and will have to see a doctor before his next court date, which will be on Jan. 29 via video link.
Until then, Parvez will remain in police custody, Ciraco said.
Peel school board representative Sylvia Link said schools deal with conflicts between teens and families regularly, and that it usually isn't cause for alarm.
"To suggest that the school had any knowledge of what would happen or any sense that this was even a possibility and didn't act is just completely wrong."