A woman and her husband were found dead in a townhouse in the east Ottawa neighbourhood of Beacon Hill early Thursday morning in a murder-suicide.

Phara Vincent neighbour Beaconwood Drive murder suicide Dec 4 2014

Neighbour Phara Vincent, who works as a nurse specializing in mental health, says the news of the murder suicide is "devastating." (CBC)

A teenage boy called 911 at about 6:30 a.m. ET after discovering the bodies in the basement of a home on Beaconwood Drive, CBC News has learned. The boy was also treated for an injury.

The woman had been stabbed and her husband appeared to have taken his own life.

Over the weekend, police identified the couple and confirmed the deaths were a murder-suicide. The man was identified as Yassin Mender, 60, who police said killed his wife, 51-year-old Alem Haile, before taking his own life.

The family is Eritrean, and the couple leave behind three children.

'You never want to hear something so sad'

Neighbour Phara Vincent, who works as a nurse at The Royal Ottawa mental health centre, called the news "devastating."

"It's shocking, it's devastating," Vincent said. "You never want to hear something so sad.

"That's our number one goal as mental health nurses, to prevent tragedies like this from happening before they happen. And when it's too late … you start thinking what you could have done, if you had noticed any signs. We never noticed any domestic disputes or anything like that," Vincent said, adding that she only knew the couple enough to say hello.

The Ottawa police major crimes unit is investigating.