Toronto

Here's what we know about the victims of the van attack in Toronto

Coroner balancing 'desire to know quickly' with need to 'ensure that we have 100% accuracy'

April 24, 2018

Anne Marie D'Amico, who worked for an investment management firm, was one of 10 people killed in the van attack on Monday afternoon in Toronto. (Facebook)

Toronto police are appealing to the public for help identifying the victims of a van attack that left 10 people dead and at least 14 injured on Monday.

Alek Minassian, 25, was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

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Ontario's chief coroner said Tuesday that identifying the victims "is our No. 1 priority." 

Dr. Dirk Huyer said there were three coroners at the scene Monday, and there are currently forensic pathologists, forensic anthropologists, coroners, dentists and scientists all working together to identify the victims.

Families are starting to confirm the names of the dead, but the coroner said it could be days before the names of the dead are confirmed by officials.

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Ontario’s chief coroner identifying the victims is the "number one" priority  2:42

Huyer said it's imperative "to ensure that we're completely accurate when we do this — so we're always balancing the need to know and the desire to know quickly, to ensure that we have 100 per cent accuracy — and that takes time."

He said he knows the wait can be frustrating but that tragedies of this scale are challenging and require diligence and caution.

"It's far different, for example, than somebody found in their house deceased."   

The victims ranged in age from mid-20s to 80s, said homicide Det.-Sgt. Graham Gibson, the lead investigator in the case.

Here's what we know so far about the victims.

Dorothy Sewell 

Dorothy Sewell, 80, was an avid sports fan and never missed a Blue Jays game, her grandson said Tuesday. (Elwood Delaney)

Dorothy Sewell, 80, was confirmed to be among the dead by her grandson, Elwood Delaney.

"She was the foundation for all things sports here in our family, that's for sure," Delaney told CBC Toronto.

When she and Delaney talked, she always asked about the kids — and, without fail, sports.

"She loved her Maple Leafs; she loved her Blue Jays. I don't think she ever missed a Blue Jays game," Delaney said.

Delaney, who lives in B.C. but was born and raised in Calgary, said his grandma never missed a chance to talk sports.

"If there was an important game on, she would call me, even with the three-hour difference in Toronto time, and she would still call me and say, 'Did you see that goal?'"

Sewell worked at Sears for years and volunteered helping other seniors. On the day she died, she was on her way to the bank, he said.

Delaney described Sewell as the "best grandma you could ask for" and said he has been feeling a mix of "pure anger and then sadness" since learning how she died.

Anne Marie D'Amico

Anne Marie D'Amico was the first victim to be identified, a day after the attack.

D'Amico was an employee at Invesco, a U.S.-based investment management firm. Her next of kin have been notified. 

Invesco's Canadian headquarters are on Yonge Street, between Sheppard and Finch avenues, close to the nearly one-kilometre stretch of Yonge where pedestrians were struck with the white rental van. 

In a statement to CBC News, the D'Amico family described Anne Marie as having 'a generous heart.' (Facebook)

Rob Greco, a bystander who called 911, assisted D'Amico at the scene.

"She was the last person that I saw get hit by the van," he told CBC News. "I was just telling Anne Marie to be brave, help is on the way."

He helped paramedics apply gauze to her wounds and accompanied her until she was taken away by ambulance.

"I moved her hair away from her face so it [didn't] get in the way of her breathing."

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Tam says D'Amico was a 'very happy person, always smiling'  0:25

In a statement to CBC News, the D'Amico family described her as having "a generous heart." She "always did big things for people," the statement said.

"She wouldn't stop until she went the extra mile for others.… She genuinely wanted to care for all those around her even if it meant sacrificing a portion of herself in return for others' happiness. She only had kindness in her.

"Her name has been broadcast around the world, attached to this terrible tragedy. But we want everyone to know that she embodied the definition of altruism.

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"Kill me," the man can be heard yelling as Toronto police arrested him  1:13

"It comforts us knowing that the world has a chance to know her and we hope that in this time, people fight with the same altruism rather than anger and hatred. We ask that at this time you respect our family's privacy as we come to terms with this tragic news."

Peter Intraligi, president of Invesco Canada, confirmed D'Amico's death in an emailed statement.

"Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all those impacted by this tragic event," Intraligi said. "I can now confirm that unfortunately one of our employees has succumbed to her injuries. Out of respect for her and her family, we will not be providing any further comments."

This undated image provided by Tennis Canada shows Anne Marie D'Amico. (Tennis Canada via AP)

Jon Tam, one of D'Amico's co-workers at Invesco, said she was "full of life, loved to travel, loved to help volunteer."

He said the office has been devastated by the news that D'Amico is among the victims.

"She was a very warm, friendly presence in the office. Always smiling," he said in an interview with CBC's Metro Morning. "I'll definitely be missing seeing that smile around the office."

D'Amico was an avid tennis fan and had volunteered at tournaments.

"Her passion … was contagious, and we are honoured to let the world know what an amazing person she was and the great things she did for others," Tennis Canada said in a statement on Tuesday.

South Korean, Jordanian citizens

Multiple South Korean media outlets reported that two Korean nationals are among the dead.

The neighbourhood where the attack took place is home to a large Korean community.

Yonhap news agency said two nationals were dead and another seriously injured, citing a South Korean government official.

It was also reported that three Koreans had not been accounted for since the van attack.

In a tweet, South Korea's Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed that two nationals were killed.

CBC News has not independently verified the reporting.

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A woman reacts at a memorial on Yonge Street the day after a driver drove a rented van down sidewalks Monday afternoon, killing 10 people and injuring 14 others. (David Donnelly/CBC)
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Alek Minassian, 25, was charged Tuesday with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. A 14th charge of attempted murder was expected. (Galit Rodan/Canadian Press)
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A child places stickers at the memorial. (David Donnelly/CBC)
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Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory carry flowers to be placed at the memorial. (Mark Bochsler/CBC)
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Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne writes words of condolence while Toronto Mayor John Tory, right, looks on. Tory called the loss of life 'unfathomable.' (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)
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Premier Kathleen Wynne writes a message at the memorial. It reads: 'It is so very hard in these moments to find the right words — words that will comfort. Please know that you have been loved and are loved. On behalf of the government of Ontario, our deepest sympathy and love.' (Mark Bochsler/CBC)
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Mayor John Tory left a message at the memorial. It reads: 'With a heavy heart I offer deepest condolences on behalf of the people of the City of Toronto. We will miss those who have been taken from us and stand in solidarity and caring with those injured and families and friends.' (Mark Bochsler/CBC)
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Valerie Lai places flowers at the memorial. (David Donnelly/CBC)
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Sean O'Keefe and his son, 16-month-old Fionn, bring flowers to the memorial. (Galit Rodan/Canadian Press)
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A woman writes a note at the memorial. Police say the motive for the attack is not immediately clear. (Galit Rodan/Canadian Press)
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A woman reaches over flowers to write a note on the memorial. (Jonathan Castell/CBC)
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A man holds a sign with messages of love at the memorial. (Jonathan Castell/CBC)
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A young boy writes a message at the memorial. (Mark Bochsler/CBC)
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Messages of sympathy are posted at the memorial. (Mark Bochsler/CBC)
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Messages and flowers line the wall at the memorial near Yonge and Finch. (Mark Bochsler/CBC)

Separately, the Jordanian Embassy confirmed to CBC News that one of Jordan's citizens was among those killed. It did not release the name of the deceased, but Jordanian media citing the Foreign Ministry identified him as Munir Abdu Habib Al-Najjar.

Mayor John Tory said there's been a "great deal" of generosity after the attack. He said the City of Toronto has partnered with the Toronto Foundation and will launch a #torontostrongfund to help co-ordinate donations.

Anyone missing a friend or family member is asked to call Toronto police at 416-808-8085.

With files from CBC's Derick Keshav Deonarain
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