Toronto Sun

Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Mom charged

Widow accused of killing children refused psychiatric care, say kin

By IAN ROBERTSON, TORONTO SUN

A Scarborough widow accused of killing her two "sweet angels" in an alleged murder-suicide bid rejected family offers of psychiatric care, her relatives said yesterday.

Jasotha Mahendriran, 32, also called Yasotha or "Yaso" by relatives, was found barely alive Monday next to her dead son Sajeev, 3, and daughter Shyami, 5, in the trunk of her car.

She had been distraught since her husband's death in a workplace accident last summer.

After being interviewed by police at Scarborough General hospital, she was charged yesterday with two counts of first degree murder.

"Our family is extremely devastated, saddened and shocked by the tragic death(s)," said Tamesh Thankaraja, a cousin, at the Canadian Tamil Youth Development Centre.

'AT PEACE'

Thankaraja said the children were "too young to fully understand the death of their father," adding "their spirit and zeal for life continued in each passing day.

"We can only seek solace that our adorable and sweet angels are at peace."

Their mother has no court date yet and is under police guard, homicide unit Det. Gary Giroux said.

During their meeting, Giroux described Mahendriran as "subdued ... her demeanour was very sombre."

She will undergo further tests during the next two or three days to determine why she was unconscious in the trunk of her green Honda Civic next to her children, he said.

Autopsies will be done today on the bodies of the little brother and sister.

In addition to a pathologist looking for signs of asphyxiation, "we can't eliminate the possibility that the children were administered some kind of substance," Giroux said.

INCREDIBLY SADDENED

Neighbours called Mahendriran a devoted mother left incredibly saddened by his death.

"We asked about the counselling but she said no, she was all right," her late husband's brother, Yokeswaram Thiyagarajah, told The Toronto Sun. "But she was not."

When her family received no answers to their phone calls Monday, they hurried to her well-kept 1950s brick bungalow on Nero Crt. After finding a note in the home near Brimley Rd. and Eglinton Ave. E., they called 911.

Police unlocked the trunk of a parked car and found the children's bodies, Giroux said.

'COULDN'T HANDLE IT'

Neighbours on the circle of modest homes also reeled.

"What I saw ... I couldn't handle it," said Khawar, a neighbour, who didn't want her last name used. "It's heart-breaking."

Shyami, who battled an illness requiring her to make regular hospital visits, was "very popular" with neighbourhood children.

Her little brother only recently began mixing with local youngsters, but was also well liked.

"They were always in my back yard with my kids, or my kids were over at their house," said Khawar, who hadn't told her sons about their playmates' fate.

Police officers will now spend several days parked in the driveway behind yellow tape, near the neatly kept lawn where the dead children left their new tricycles.

Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.