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Canada Twelve-year Manhunt Ends With Arrest

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
August 24. 2011

Twelve-year manhunt ends with arrest

Ninderjit Singh, wanted after the slaying of an ex-girlfriend in Vancouver in 1999, eluded police as he lived on the run with a wife and two kids in the U.S

By Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun - August 24, 2011


Ninderjit Singh


Poonam Randhawa

For more than 12 years, Ninderjit Singh struggled to avoid capture after being suspected in the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend, 18-year-old Poonam Randhawa.

He fled to Los Angeles hours after the body of the Sir Winston Churchill secondary school honour graduate was found in a lane near Granville Street and West 47th in Vancouver on Jan. 26, 1999.

Los Angeles County was familiar to him; he had relatives on his mother's side in Van Nuys and he'd once worked at an uncle's gas station.

More darkly though, seven months before Randhawa was shot in the head while she sat in his car, he was charged in L.A. with assaulting a woman with a gun. Let out on bond, he moved back to Vancouver. But within hours of Randhawa's death, he boarded a plane in Seattle for a return trip to L.A., disappearing from police view.

He obtained high-quality false identification in New York in 2000. He used other aliases, and obtained a false U.S. Social Security card.

He moved to Northern California, then to San Jose, and ultimately to the relatively small city of San Jacinto, in Riverside County.

Singh, an Indian national, married outside of California during his time on the run and had at least two children. He grew a bushy beard and gained so much weight that he doesn't resemble the suspect photos released in 2000 by the Vancouver police department.

Sometimes he wore a turban. Often he did not.

He took up long-haul truck driving, working for a company in Irvine, on the opposite side of the Los Angeles basin. He made frequent trips between Southern California and Seattle, but was careful not to cross into Canada, where there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

He even fooled the people living around him as they watched his face flash on the TV show America's Most Wanted: No one ever twigged to who he really was.

But back in Vancouver, a small group of detectives never gave up on finding Singh, now 33.


A bushy beard and significant weight gain helped Ninderjit Singh (left), 33, evade capture by police for more than 12 years. Vancouver police released photos of Singh in 2000 (far left) after the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend Poonam Randhawa (above).

He'd been identified as a suspect almost immediately, according to Insp. Brad Desmarais, the head of the department's major crimes division. News reports in 1999 indicated Randhawa had complained Singh was stalking her, but she felt she could handle his unwanted advances. Two days after her 18th birthday, Singh and another man allegedly picked her up in Singh's car. Her body was found 10 blocks away.

Led by an undercover officer whose identity is protected by the department, Vancouver police mounted an intense investigation. They believed all along that Singh was getting help from family members. They offered a $10,000 reward, but over the last 12 and a half years never got close enough to arrest him. Several times, he caught on to the fact that investigators were closing in. Once, tantalizingly, they had him so close in their sights in San Jose that when they went to arrest him they discovered his apartment hastily abandoned. He'd sighted the police surveillance hours before.

In 2008, as the investigation became one of Vancouver's longest manhunts, the department appealed to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for help. Even with that federal muscle, Singh evaded arrest.

But last Friday, Singh's days on the run ended.

Two weeks ago, Vancouver investigators learned Singh's possible false identity. They alerted Homeland Security, which had set up a special team that included one officer each from the Santa Monica and El Monte police departments. The team tracked Singh to Washington state, where he was returning from a trucking trip.

Vancouver's lead investigator flew to California. Investigators visited Singh's workplace in Irvine. But by this time, he weighed more than 300 pounds and officers couldn't identify him from the original photographs, Desmarais said.

The officers arranged for the California Highway Patrol to pull Singh's rig over on the pretence of a traffic violation. The thumbprints obtained from the licence were rushed to a local police department, where they were compared to fingerprints held by the VPD.

Within two hours, they confirmed Singh's identity and within 45 minutes stopped him again at his home in San Jacinto while he was trying to leave in a vehicle with his wife and two children.

Desmarais said Singh "immediately confirmed his real identity and stated that he was aware he was wanted for murder in Canada."
But when his wife was shown the photographs of a slim, even gangly young man in his early 20s, she said, "that's not my husband," Desmarais said. She has denied knowing her husband's true identity or that he was wanted for murder.

In a statement Tuesday, the Randhawa family said it is pleased about the arrest, expressed gratitude to Vancouver police for not giving up and thanked U.S. authorities for cooperating.

The investigation cost the VPD in excess of $500,000, Desmarais said.

Singh is now in Los Angeles County Jail awaiting extradition.


© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

source: http://www.{censored}/news/Twelve+year+manhunt+ends+with+arrest/5298288/story.html
Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Man held in 1999 slaying also wanted in attempted murder

Vancouver police say they're 'aggressively pursuing charges' in both cases against Ninderjit Singh

By Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun - August 25, 2011

Ninderjit Singh, the man arrested in connection with the 1999 murder of 18-yearold Poonam Randhawa, is also wanted in Vancouver for attempted murder in a 1997 shooting, according to new documents filed in a U.S. court.

Singh, 33, appeared in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Wednesday, five days after federal agents arrested him as he was leaving his San Jacinto, Calif. home. He told the judge he would waive extradition, paving the way for his immediate return to Vancouver
He'd been on the lam since Jan. 26, 1999, when Randhawa, a popular honours graduate, was shot as she sat in a car.

In the complaint filed in U.S. court based on information supplied by Vancouver detectives, the U.S. Department of Justice said Canadian investigators only became aware after he was arrested that Singh was wanted in Vancouver under an alias for attempted murder. The May 3, 1997 incident involved a dispute with a couple at a movie theatre during which one person was shot in the leg.

A c c o r d i n g t o B . C . Provincial Court files, charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and discharging a firearm with intent to wound were laid against Ninderjit Singh Soos in July 2000.

In the past, police have said Singh used several aliases, including Ninderjit Soos and Bira Singh. Soos is his stepfather's last name.
Vancouver Const. Jana McGuinness said police only became aware of the 1997 case after Singh's arrest because there was no link between the court database and the police department's database.

She said investigators have been reassigned to both cases "and will be very aggressively pursuing charges" against anyone who aided Singh in the killing or his flight from justice.

The U.S. document also indicates that when federal officers searched Singh's California home, they found four guns, one of which was confirmed stolen.

The U.S. complaint, which sets out the grounds for Singh's extradition hearing, said Randhawa "had been dating" Singh but ended the relationship in December 1998 after he assaulted her. Friends said she'd been stalked by him.

According to the complaint, a month later, on Jan. 26, 1999, Singh was in a car being driven by Paul Aulakh when he saw Randhawa in another vehicle at the same intersection. Singh told her to get into the car with him.

"As Paul Aulakh drove westbound on West 57th Avenue between Cambie Street and Oak Street, Singh pulled out a gun and pointed at Randhawa's head. Singh then shot Randhawa in the head," the court document states. It says Singh dumped Randhawa's body in a lane at West 47th Ave.

The document also says Singh told another friend, Raja Bisla, that his aunt had died and he needed money and a ride to Seattle. Bisla gave Singh $200 and drove him and Aulakh to Seattle for a flight to Los Angeles.

Aulakh stored his bloody car in a garage and told Salinder Chahal, an associate of Singh, who told him to immediately call police. Later that day, Singh was charged with firstdegree murder and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

McGuinness said evidence at the time only supported a case against Singh, but detectives will now re-examine whether others can be charged.



© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

source: http://www.{censored}/news/held+1999+slaying+also+wanted+attempted+murder/5304954/story.html




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