Toronto Sun

Thursday, July 19, 2001

Kids' deaths remain a mystery

Autopsies inconclusive

By IAN ROBERTSON, TORONTO SUN

As relatives prepare to receive the bodies today of two children found dead next to their unconscious mom in the trunk of a car, they will have to wait to learn how the kids died.

Autopsies carried out yesterday on Shyami Mahendriran, 5, and her brother Sajeev Mahendriran, 3, were inconclusive, homicide Det. Gary Giroux said.

"There were no physical signs (to show how the youngsters died)," Giroux said. Toxicology tests and drug screenings on samples from their bodies could take up to six weeks.

Rigor mortis had set in when an officer opened the trunk of a green Honda Civic parked outside a brick bungalow on Nero Ct. after relatives found a suicide note in the home near Brimley Rd. and Eglinton Ave. E.

MURDER CHARGES

Rigor mortis can set in almost immediately, but usually takes up to 12 hours.

The children's mother, Jasotha Mahendriran, 32, who also used the last name of her late husband Mahendran Thiyagarajah, was found barefoot and unconscious, lying beside her children.

Mahendriran is charged with two counts of first- degree murder and has a court date for next Wednesday. Until then, she will remain under guard at Scarborough General Hospital, undergoing a psychiatric exam and further medical tests.

Those close to Mahendriran said she has suffered severe depression over the death last year of her husband, was taking sleeping pills and left a note in a room dedicated to his memory.

'PRAYER ROOM'

Giroux called it "a prayer room to her husband."

Her husband's death "was a burden she's pretty well carried all by herself."

Mahendriran had talked of wanting to join her husband and followed a superstitious custom of placing pieces of paper in front of his photo, one marked yes, the other no, before choosing one as a sign of his spirit's answer, relatives said.

They also found clothes the children wore to their dad's funeral last August -- plus "some money and cheques ... for charities" -- carefully set out in the home, his brother, Yokeswaram Thiyagarajah, said.

Mahendran Thiyagarajah, 42, who came from Sri Lanka in 1989, died after a fall at the furniture factory last year.

The approach of that anniversary may have been weighing heavily on her.

Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.