London, Ont., police say they have charged a second man from the Greater Toronto Area with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Lynda Marques in September.
Marques, 30, was gunned down in her vehicle on the evening of Sept. 10, 2021 as she returned to her home at 2229 Wateroak Dr. in the city’s northwest end. After months of investigation, police announced their first arrest in the case last week involving an 18-year-old GTA man.
The second man charged, 23-year-old Osman Ali Afandy, was taken into custody in Regina, Sask. on Wednesday and will appear in court in London on Friday for a charge of first-degree murder, police said Thursday.
Police allege Afandy was driving in a grey Ford Fusion on the day Marques was killed, and say he was observed travelling with the suspect black Volkswagen Jetta that appeared in surveillance camera images released by police.
Investigators said at the time that two masked suspects exited the Jetta, each firing shots into Marques’ vehicle, which was parked in the driveway. Marques suffered multiple gunshot wounds and died of her injuries.
The Jetta, reported stolen from Bluffers Park and Beach in Toronto five days before Marques’ death, was later found abandoned on Meadowlilly Road South on Sept. 15, 2021, police said.
Police said previously that they had reason to believe the people involved travelled to London from the GTA on Sept. 9, and left the city “immediately after her murder” on Sept. 10.
Investigators say they identified the second suspect vehicle, a grey Ford Fusion, after examining “significant volumes of surveillance video footage,” and say the car has since been located and has “undergone extensive forensic analysis.” Police believe Afandy was behind the wheel of that sedan.
“We’ve made two arrests now and charged two persons in relation to this…. During the course of the investigation, we released a number of photos, and we are continuing to investigate additional persons who may have been involved in Lynda’s murder,” Det. Insp. Alex Krygsman said in an interview Thursday.
“There were two persons featured in a photo that also featured the black Volkswagen Jetta on the day of Lynda’s murder. We’re continuing our investigation into them, and we’re continuing to appeal to the public for information as we move through this.”
Police have not said whether the two people charged in the case are the same two in the photo released by police in late March. They did, however, say on Thursday that a photo released on April 21 of a lone male person of interest was that of Afandy.
In 2017, one Osman Afandy was among those charged in connection with a bank robbery in Guelph, for which he was sentenced to 10 and a half months in jail. According to the Guelph Mercury, Afandy served seven months pre-sentence and was released in March 2018, credited with time-and-a-half.
Afandy is the second suspect to be charged in the Marques investigation.
Police announced last week during a news conference at police headquarters that an 18-year-old man, Ammar Patel of the GTA, was also charged with first-degree murder in the case.
Patel appeared in court on May 4 and had his case held over until June 15. Patel was ordered not to communicate with dozens of people, three of whom share a last name with the victim.
The 18-year-old was already in custody when police laid the murder charge. He was arrested by Toronto police on Nov. 17, 2021 in connection with Project Malibu, an investigation into the trafficking of narcotics and firearms in Thorncliffe Park, according to a media release.
In that case, Patel was handed 58 charges, most of them firearm-related and drug trafficking-related offences.
Police have remained tight-lipped about the ongoing investigation.
Marques became a registered nurse in February 2020 and soon afterward opened her own private medical aesthetics business, according to a post by the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario.
Prior to that, Marques was a registered practical nurse for six years, according to her registration page with the College of Nurses of Ontario.
According to reporting by the London Free Press, the 30-year-old lived at the home on Wateroak Drive with her partner, 28-year-old Ali Bhatti.
Bhatti was arrested on Jan. 6 along with two others after a traffic stop near Farrah and Wonderland roads allegedly turned up two loaded handguns, drugs and more than $1,600 in cash. He remains in custody, charged with 11 weapons-related counts, two drug-related counts and one of failing to comply with an undertaking.
“I’m not prepared to say that at this point in time,” Krygsman said when asked if there was any indication Marques’ death was related to Bhatti’s alleged criminal activity.
“We’re looking at all possibilities here that could provide a motive for her murder. And that’s what we’re continuing to do right now.”
Krygsman also wouldn’t say whether police believe Marques was the intended target.
“In spite of this second arrest and this charge, the investigation is continuing…. We would continue to appeal to members of the public for any information about Lynda’s murder or any information about the Volkswagen Jetta and the Ford Fusion, or the persons who have now been charged.”
— with files from Andrew Graham
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