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Updated: Sat, 16 Aug 2014 19:08:19 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Murder charges against Jason Klaus come after 'key' evidence located: RCMP



Castor, Alta., man Jason Klaus says police have no reason to suspect him in the deaths of his father and sister. His mother is unaccounted for. Supplied

Castor, Alta., man Jason Klaus says police have no reason to suspect him in the deaths of his father and sister. His mother is unaccounted for. Supplied

The discovery of what RCMP say is a "key piece of evidence" in the killings of a rural Alberta family played a significant role in the laying of three murder charges against both the victims' family member and another man.

In a news conference Saturday afternoon in Calgary, RCMP Insp. Tony Hamori said dive teams were deployed on July 26 and 27 near Big Knife Provincial Park, where they recovered the evidence. Hamori would not say what the evidence was, only that it is "very significant" in their decision to lay first-degree murder charges against Jason Klaus, 38, and Joshua Frank, 29.

Klaus and Frank are charged in connection to the killings of Klaus's parents and sister last December.

The remains of Gordon Klaus, 61, and his daughter Monica Klaus, 40, were found in the rubble of a burnt-out house near Castor, Alta., about 1.5 hours east of Red Deer, on Dec. 8, 2013. The body of Sandra Klaus, 62, was never found and police say it may have been destroyed in the fire.

The family dog was also killed.

RCMP found the family vehicle 30 kilometres away.

RCMP ruled the three deaths as homicides in February and on Wednesday a warrant was issued for Klaus's arrest.

Hamori said on Saturday he can't comment on how the three died but did say RCMP believe their deaths were planned.

"We feel very strongly it was an element of planning and premeditation in this particular case," he said.

He couldn't say how long the planning had been going but did add that investigators are not looking for any other suspects.

A 29-year-old man, Joshua Frank, is also charged with three counts of first-degree murder as well as a charge related to the shooting death of the dog.

The connection between Klaus and Frank isn't known at this point.

In an interview with CBC News last December, Klaus denied he had anything to do with the deaths of his sister and parents and said that police were treating him like a suspect and playing a 'twisted little game' with his head.

Klaus, 38, is also facing a charge of intentionally or recklessly setting fire to a home knowing it was occupied.

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