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[UPDATE] Family says dad ‘was very close’ with 11-year-old ‘princess’ he’s accused of killing

Following the arrest of a Canadian man accused of murdering his 11-year-old daughter after celebrating her birthday on Thursday, relatives are expressing grief and disbelief.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Riya Rajkumar’s body was found dead at a residence in Brampton, Ontario, hours after an Amber Alert was issued regarding her disappearance.

A motorist reportedly spotted a vehicle matching the description included in the alert and contacted police, leading to the discovery.

Her cousin spoke to Global News about how the girl’s death impacted the family.

“Riya was like the princess of the family,” he said. “I loved her. It’s just really hard.”

Like other relatives, he expressed dismay over the tragic loss and the alleged circumstances surrounding it.

“He was very close with his daughter,” the man said of 41-year-old suspect Roopesh Rajkumar, who was found at the scene with what police believe was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was transported from the scene in police custody to an area trauma center.

The girl’s aunt spoke to the same news outlet, explaining that the ordeal has been “so painful for all of us at this time.”

She said the family is “totally shocked” by the news, adding that relatives were planning to spend Friday together as they try to process the situation.

“It’s very sad, very tragic,” she said. “We didn’t expect it.”

Riya’s cousin called her “literally the focus of like the whole family,” describing her as a fun-loving girl who always wore a smile.

“Even though sometimes she pretended that she hated me, I still love her,” he said.

Roopesh Rajkumar is expected to face criminal charges including murder in the first degree following his release from the hospital.

[Featured image: Riya Rajkumar, Peel Regional Police]