Toronto Star

Jul. 22, 02:00 EDT

Family buries two children found dead in car trunk

Mother charged in their deaths isn't at funeral

Prithi Yelaja
STAFF REPORTER
The Toronto Star

Sandalwood incense wafted through the air at the funeral yesterday for two Toronto children found dead in a car trunk.

Many of the 500 mourners collapsed in sobs and wails as they paid their last respects to 5-year-old Shyami Mahendriran and her brother, Sajeev, 3.

A shrine made of roses and mums, and a collage of photos depicting the children during their short lives was erected outside the Ogden Funeral Home on Sheppard Ave. E.

Inside, the two lay in separate white coffins, each adorned with white roses and baby's breath.

Shyami wore a bindi (a decorative mark) on her forehead and was dressed in a red velvet dress, with matching red bangles on her tiny wrist, while Sajeev was dressed in a black suit and tie.

Their favourite things were placed in each of their coffins.

For Shyami, that was a stuffed Winnie-the-Pooh, packets of bindi, and a book of games and puzzles. A similar book and a brown teddy bear were placed with Sajeev.

The children's mother, Jasotha Mahendriran, who was found semi-conscious beside their bodies in the car trunk last Monday, did not attend the funeral.

The 32-year-old woman has been charged with first-degree murder in their deaths and is under police guard, recovering from what police believe is a failed suicide attempt.

If she is well enough, she is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.

In the Hindu tradition, the children wore garlands of carnations around their necks. Bouquets of white flowers, symbolizing the Hindu colour of mourning, surrounded both coffins.

Following Hindu custom and out of respect for the dead, many mourners removed their shoes at the door.

The funeral was without ceremony or fanfare. The mourners sang some devotional songs in Tamil before the coffins were closed.

Shyami and Sajeev were buried together in one plot in a section of Highland Memory Gardens in North York reserved for children.

Siva Sivanesan, a cousin of the family, read a brief statement at the cemetery gate.


`The past week has been a trial of faith and love. Our family has endured an irreplaceable loss which has touched the hearts of the community around us.'
- Siva Sivanesan
Relative of family

``The past week has been a trial of faith and love. Our family has endured an irreplaceable loss which has touched the hearts of the community around us,'' he told reporters, his voice trembling.

``The loss of Shyami and Sajeev will never be forgotten. We will cherish the wonderful memories we have of them forever.''

The family moved to Canada from Sri Lanka in the early 1990s and settled in Scarborough. Then last August, the children's father fell to his death at the North York factory where he worked.

Friends said Mahendriran had been depressed about the upcoming anniversary of his death.

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