Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Divorce papers filed day before slaying

Husband sought custody of girl

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It's a sad footnote at the back of a thick manila folder: a single, yellow sheet of paper titled Notice of Discontinuance -- Both Parties Deceased.

But a suspected murder-suicide this week in Winnipeg may have its roots in the family court file, which dates back to 2005 and includes a new development only 24 hours before the tragedy occurred.

The Free Press reviewed the document on Thursday as police continued probing the details surrounding the slaying Tuesday of Samantha Pourchamani and the car-crash death of her estranged husband, Siyavash Pourchamani. Samantha, 35, was found suffering from throat lacerations in the garage of her Island Lakes home. Shortly after that discovery, Siyavash, 49, drove into the path of an oncoming semi-trailer truck on Highway 205 near Rosenort.

Court records show Siyavash had filed for divorce on Monday and had requested full custody of their 14-year-old daughter and possession of their $410,000 home. He was also seeking monthly child support from Samantha and was demanding copies of her tax records.

According to Siyavash's affidavit, they were married in October 1998, separated in July 2001, reconciled in November 2009 and then parted ways again in September 2011.

Siyavash's lawyer, Allan Dueck, told the Free Press a process server went to the Island Shore Boulevard home to serve Samantha with the new papers on Tuesday afternoon but police tape surrounded it. Samantha had just been found dead, and Siyavash had fled the scene in a vehicle.

Winnipeg Police Service spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen said Thursday officers are continuing to look into what happened but had no new information to release. Police have confirmed they are treating the two deaths as a "domestic dispute." The WPS is responsible for looking into Samantha's death, while the RCMP are investigating Siyavash's. Cpl. Miles Hiebert, RCMP D Division spokesman, said the deadly crash was still under investigation.

"We're waiting... on a final report from our traffic collision analyst," he said.

Siyavash, who was born in Iran, first took legal action against Samantha in 2005. He served her with a child-custody notice on Valentine's Day that year. His affidavit stated they had been separated at that point for four years with no hope of reconciliation. Siyavash proposed a joint-custody arrangement for their then seven-year-old daughter, which Samantha agreed to. Siyavash would pick the girl up from school every day and drop her off at her mother's home and would have her every weekend.

It all seemed amicable, with Samantha stating she didn't need to hire a lawyer. Any disagreement that arose between the parties over child custody would go to mediation, the documents stated.

Samantha would keep full custody of her son from a previous relationship, who was 13 in 2005.

The file didn't have any further entries until the petition for divorce was filed on Monday. A hearing date was set for May 15.

Dueck told the Free Press Siyavash had finally accepted his marriage was over and was determined to get sole custody of his daughter. He said there was no indication of impending trouble.

"This was totally unexpected," he said. "I didn't see it coming. There was no reason for it."

Samantha had a boyfriend, Dueck said, but added Siyavash knew of the relationship and was not troubled by it.

Siyavash listed his current address as an apartment at 70 Garry St. No one was home on Thursday afternoon, but police had been at the building. A source told the Free Press Siyavash planed to move from a bachelor apartment to a one-bedroom apartment so his daughter could live with him while the divorce was pending, and Samantha's now 20-year-old son was planning to move into another apartment in the building.

At the time of her death, Samantha was planning a funeral for her mother, who died April 28.


-- with files from Gabrielle Giroday and Aldo Santin

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 4, 2012 A4

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