The husband of a murdered elementary school teacher was found dead in the basement of his brother’s house in Surrey, police confirmed yesterday.
Narinder Pal “Paul” Cheema, a 34-year-old Burnaby man, was questioned, but never charged in the death of Shemina Hirji, his wife of only five days.
His body was discovered by a family member at 7 p.m. Monday, said RCMP Cpl. Dale Carr. There was no sign of foul play.
“We haven’t made a determination (as to whether it was suicide),” said Carr, a spokesman for the region’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT).
“There is going to be an autopsy and the B.C. Coroner’s Service will make a determination.”
On July 5, Hirji, 41, was killed in an apparent home invasion at the couple’s Burnaby townhouse.
At the time, Cheema told police that three men had broken into the house, injuring him and killing Hirji, a popular Surrey elementary school teacher. Less than two weeks later, however, IHIT announced that they had arrested a “primary suspect” in the case.
Media reports identified the suspect as Cheema, although it was never confirmed by investigators.
“All I can say with respect to that is we have a person of interest in the (Hirji) file,” Carr said yesterday.
He added that eight investigators are continuing to work the case.
“Once we have all the evidence in we will make a decision as to who we think is responsible.”
An autopsy of Cheema’s body will be performed sometime this week, Carr said.