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July 17, 2001

'Depressed' mother taken to hospital

Woman bereft since husband's death

Chris Eby, Ralph Bodirsky and Mark Gollom
National Post

Carlo Allegri, National Post
TWO 'SWEET, ADORABLE CHILDREN' FOUND DEAD IN CAR TRUNK: A police officer stands in the driveway of 12 Nero Court in Scarborough, where two children were found dead last night. Their toys still adorn the front lawn.

TORONTO - Two young children, reportedly a five-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy, were found dead in the trunk of a car in Scarborough last night.

Their mother, who is from Sri Lanka and who relatives said has been depressed over the death of her husband, was also found in the car. She was taken to hospital with unknown injuries.

Family members went to a house on Nero Court, near Eglinton Avenue and Brimley Road, just before 7 p.m.

There was no one home, but they found a note from the mother and called police. Police searched the house and then the car, where they found all three.

"They were very sweet, adorable children," said June Mander, a neighbour.

A police source said investigators believe it was a double-murder and attempted suicide.

Family members said they also suspect the case could be a double homicide and attempted suicide.

"We don't know what we have right now. It could be an attempted triple murder or a suicide," said police Sgt. Mike Boothby.

Relatives said the woman, who lived in the house with her mother and brother, was depressed about the death of her husband, who died in an industrial accident at a nearby furniture factory about a year ago. He had only been on the job a week.

"She was very depressed, she never recovered from that," one woman told CFTO News.

Another neighbour said the dead children's grandmother sat on the front porch as police investigated. The neighbour said the grandmother told her the children's mother ''was very lonely.''

Neighbours described the family as a very happy one before the father's accident. They said the father had been excited about his new job, because it would give him more time to spend with his family.

Since the accident, the children's mother had been ''very subdued,'' said a neighbour.

Two tricycles sat on the front lawn of the brick bungalow last night, yellow police tape prohibiting entry.

Family members wept and prayed as police stood guard by the car. Relatives told reporters the children were ''very active and happy.''

Ms. Mander said the family -- whom she described as "lovely people'' -- had lived in the neighbourhood for about four years. She said she saw the children nearly every day playing outside.

Depression, though of the post-partum variety, is believed to have provided the impetus for a Houston mother to drown her five children in the bathtub last month. Andrea Yates, 37, of Houston, is charged with capital murder.

Last month in Calgary, a woman was charged in the death of her toddler. Rie Fujii, 23, was charged with failing to properly dispose of the body of her 15-month-old son, Domenic Brown. She came forward after his body was found in an empty Calgary apartment. Ms. Fujii's three-month-old daughter is missing and is presumed dead.

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