EDITOR'S NOTE: York Regional Police have withdrawn charges against 71-year-old Mohammad Askaryar on Sept. 29, 2022 after new evidence was uncovered. A new suspect has been arrested and charged.

A 71-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder and arson arson endangering life after a woman was found dead following a house fire in Vaughan.

Last Friday, at roughly 7:45 p.m., York Regional Police were called to help Vaughan Fire and Rescue Services with a structure fire near Parktree Drive and Lucena Crescent, which is east of Jane Street and north of Rutherford Road.

At the scene, officers found an “unresponsive” female victim inside the residence, police said. The victim, identified as 64-year-old Naheed Askaryar, of Vaughan, was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead. An autopsy determined her cause of death is stab wounds.

Mohammad Askaryar, 71, of Vaughan, was arrested on Sept. 23. He remains in custody.

York police are strongly urging anyone who has been contacted by investigators and have not yet given their witness statement to contact them. They’re also appealing to anyone with information to come forward, including witnesses that have not yet spoken with police or anyone with video surveillance or dashcam footage from the area at the time of the fire.

Anyone with information should contact the YRP’s Homicide Unit at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7865, or homicide@yrp.ca, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS or www.1800222tips.com.