This week on The Case That Haunts Me, Detective Harj Sidhu, recalls the shocking murder of pregnant wife, mother, and school teacher Manjit Panghali, who was killed in October 2006 in Delta, British Columbia.
Manjit was last seen alive as she left a prenatal yoga class. Her charred remains were discovered a few days later by a waterway in Delta, just south of Vancouver. An autopsy determined that she died from strangulation.
In the period before Manjit’s remains were discovered, her husband, Mukhtiar Panghali, gave a press conference where he wept openly and pleaded with the public for help in finding his wife.
However, it was all an act. The police determined that when Manjit had returned from her yoga class, Panghali had choked her to death before dumping her remains by the waterway.
A lot of the evidence against Panghali was circumstantial. The police pointed at his odd behavior after his wife’s disappearance, which included not reporting her missing for 26 hours and even going out for beers with colleagues.
Cellphone records also proved that he’d used Manjit’s phone after she’d died. Furthermore, investigators knew he’d lied to them as surveillance footage had recorded him buying groceries at a time when he had claimed to be at home.
Manjit and Mukhtiars marriage was failing
The police also uncovered evidence of a marriage that was falling apart. Manjit had written in her diary: “I am writing today because I thought that I would never let myself get to this point. I am clinically depressed and on medication. I am so scared. My husband does not give me the support I need.”
In February 2011, Panghali’s case went to trial, and he was finally found guilty of second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for fifteen years.
New information released three years after the case suggested that Panghali had been willing to plead guilty to manslaughter so he would get a reduced sentence. However, at the time, attorney general Wally Oppal said no to the deal believing that prosecutors were likely to get a conviction for second-degree murder.
More from The Case That Haunts Me
Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on The Case That Haunts Me.
Lucie Turmel was a 23-year-old taxi driver in Banff, Alberta, Canada, when teenager Ryan Jason Love jumped into her cab intending to rob her. He stabbed her 17 times with a hunting knife. Police caught up to him after his roommate told them the knife belonged to Love.
Louise Ellis was working on a book about a prison inmate when she met Brett Morgan, who was serving time for robbery and fraud. The two of them fell in Love, and she played a role in helping him to secure an early release. Morgan repaid her by murdering her and dumping her remains on the road.
The Case That Haunts Me airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.