9-Year-Old Ashdeep Kaur had only lived in America for a few months. She left her mother behind in India to live with her father Sukhjinder Singh in the densely populated, immigrant-rich communities of southwestern Queens in New York City. Sukhjinder was now married to a Guyanese woman named Shamdai Arjun. Shamdai took an immediate dislike to her new stepdaughter, often threatening to kill her, even saying this to Ashdeep’s father. Now police believe she is the person who strangled her to death and left her naked, bruised body in a bathtub in the apartment they shared with another family.
A woman who lives with the family thought something was amiss when Shamdai Arjun left the building in a hurry Friday evening with her 2 granddaughters, leaving her stepdaughter behind. Arjun told the woman Ashdeep was washing her hair. But hours passed with no sound coming out of the bathroom. Finally she called the girl’s father, who said to break down the door. Inside she found Ashdeep’s dead body. Shamdai Arjun had fled to the house of her ex-husband, Raymond Narayan, the next neighborhood over. Police arrested them there Saturday afternoon after they initially refused to come out.
Strangely, this part of Queens, full of tight-knit ethnic enclaves, has seen a number of high-publicity killings in the past weeks. Young, beautiful jogger Karina Vetrano was sexually assaulted and killed in nearby Howard Beach at the beginning of the month, and just last week a Muslim imam and his assistant were brutally gunned down in broad daylight.
Shamdai Arjun has been charged with second degree murder for the murder of Ashdeep Kaur. Her former husband who hid before she was tracked down by the police has been charged with obstructing governmental administration. Shamdai is being held without bail but maintains her innocence. She has asked to be placed in protective custody.