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A Montreal-area couple began making plans to kill their three daughters, along with the husband's first wife, weeks before the bodies of all four victims were found in a car submerged in the Rideau Canal, police claim in charges filed Thursday.

Mohammad Shafia, 56, his wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 39, and their eldest son, Hamed Shafia, 18, all face first-degree murder charges in the deaths, which came to light last month after a Nissan Sentra was discovered in the canal near Ontario's Kingston Mills Locks.

The bodies of three of the couple's daughters — Zainab, 19, Sahari, 17, and Geeti, 13 — and Shafia's first wife, Rona Amir Mohammad, 50, were found inside.

Conspiracy charges filed at the Kingston courthouse reveal investigators believe plans to commit the killings were hatched as far back as May 1, long before the family travelled to Niagara Falls, Ont. The deaths occurred during the return trip to Montreal.

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