Murder charges laid against father after young boys found dead in Brampton, Ont. home
TORONTO – A 52-year-old father is now facing two counts of first-degree murder after a nine-year-old boy and a 12-year-old boy were found dead inside a Brampton, Ont. home late Wednesday night.
Emergency crews were called to a residence on Hiberton Crescent, located in the area of Sandalwood Parkway West and Creditview Road, shortly before 11 p.m. for a medical assistance call that came from inside the home.
Upon arrival at the scene, officers said they located the two young boys. They were found with no obvious signs of trauma, according to police, and were pronounced dead at the scene.
While investigators have not named the children, friends and neighbours have identified the young boys to CP24 as Jonathan, 12, and Nicolas Bastidas, 9.
“When we attended we did not find any signs of trauma to the children. It was a little later on that it was determined to be a suspicious death investigation,” Const. Heather Cannon with Peel Regional Police told reporters at the scene on Thursday afternoon.
“Because there weren’t obvious signs of trauma, that’s where the coroner attended and that’s when it was determined that it was suspicious and that’s when our homicide and missing persons bureau was notified and we took over the investigation.”
The cause of death for the young boys has not been released by officials.
“It’s still early on with that so our investigators are still investigating and canvassing and speaking with people, but as far as the actual cause of death, we are not speaking to that at this point,” Cannon said.
“It’s hard during an investigation like this – there are things that we won’t be speaking to just to maintain the integrity of the investigation.”
While updating the case, Cannon confirmed charges had been laid against the boys’ father Edwin Bastidas. He appeared in court Thursday morning.
Cannon added that investigators were not looking for any additional suspects.
“The investigators have been interviewing and have gotten to the point where they have charged somebody with first-degree murder,” she said.
While Cannon was able to confirm that the 911 call was made from inside the home, she was not able to speak to who reached out to officials.
Officers continue to canvass neighbourhood
Few additional details have been released in the investigation thus far, but several police cruisers and forensic officers were seen canvassing the area collecting evidence throughout the day on Thursday.
When asked if there was any possible threat to public safety, Cannon said no, noting that this is believed to be an “isolated incident.”
“The actual circumstances of what transpired here is what they are investigating at this point,” she said. “Investigators are going to be canvassing the area and just looking for anybody that may have information that they can provide to our homicide bureau or if they wish to remain anonymous they can contact Crime Stoppers.”
Cannon said this is the “type of investigation that is going to touch a lot of people.”
“We have two young boys who are deceased and I think even as police officers, this isn’t something that we enjoy doing but we have a job to do and that’s what we are doing today,” she said. “It’s difficult.”
‘Heartbreaking and unimaginable’
A woman who said she babysat the brothers throughout their childhood said that learning of their deaths was “heartbreaking and unimaginable.”
“I took care of Jonathan and Nicolas from the time Nicolas was 11 months old and Jonathan was two,” the woman, who wished to only be identified as Laurie, said on Thursday afternoon.
“I have no words.”
Laurie said she last saw the boys about two weeks ago.
“(Their mother) was dropping the kids off at school and I was driving by and I saw them and I stopped and just said ‘Hi, how are you guys doing? We have to get together soon. We have to do a playdate with the boys,’” she said.
“That was the last I spoke with them.”
Speaking with CP24 on Thursday morning, a neighbour said the two young boys lived in the home with their mother and father.
“They were quiet, they were respectful,” the neighbour said. “There really isn’t any trouble-makers on this street.”
The woman added that many children under the age of 12 live in the neighbourhood.
Another neighbour told CP24 that she would see the boys playing out on the street from time to time.
“Just tragic,” she said. “It hits very close to home.”
The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board (DPCDSB) released a statement regarding the deaths of the young boys, confirming they were students at St. Bonaventure Catholic Elementary School in Brampton.
“Members of the DPCDSB’s tragic events response team are in attendance at the school to provide support and counseling for students and staff,” the statement said. “Prayers have been offered for the two students, their families and friends as well as the entire St. Bonaventure community.”
“The flag at the school has also been lowered to half-staff in memory of the two students.”
The school board said a letter is being sent to all members of the St. Bonaventure community.
Anyone with further information urged to come forward
Officers are appealing to anyone with further information regarding the investigation to come forward.
“Just because we’ve made an arrest doesn’t mean the investigation stops,” Cannon said.
“Anything can help even though we have arrested somebody. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done.”
Anyone with further information is asked to contact officers at 905-453-2121, ext. 3205 or Crime Stoppers anonymously.