Nova Scotia

Police investigate homicide outside Halifax school

Police say a woman whose body was found at a Halifax elementary school was slain.
The body of a woman was found on the grounds of St. Patrick's-Alexandra school in Halifax on Monday. ((CBC))

Police say a woman whose body was found at a Halifax elementary school was slain.

Tanya Jean Brooks, 38, was found dead outside St. Patrick's-Alexandra school on Maitland Street on Monday afternoon.

An autopsy performed Tuesday confirmed the death as a homicide, police said.

A close friend confirmed Brooks was originally from the Millbrook First Nation, near Truro, N.S.

Melissa Maloney says the deceased woman was her friend and that she came from the Millbrook First Nation near Truro, N.S., and worked in the sex trade in Halifax. ((CBC))

Melissa Maloney said her friend, who was addicted to drugs, was a sex trade worker in Halifax.

"She meant a lot to me," Maloney told CBC News on Tuesday. "We were like sisters, very close sisters."

The last time Maloney recalled seeing her friend was on Sunday evening. Maloney said her friend had just had an argument with her boyfriend before she took off at about 9 p.m. AT.

"I just know the last person she was [speaking] to was him on the phone and asking for her car back," Maloney said. "She took off with my friend's phone."

A school staff member found the body in a window well just below ground level at around 2:15 p.m. Monday. At first, it appeared the woman was lying down injured.

As the police investigation got underway, students were led out of the school through an exit away from the scene.

Police said the body was removed from the school grounds Monday night.

Students and staff returned to the school Tuesday morning to find several entrances locked.

Principal Kenneth Fells said he decided to funnel everyone through the doors farthest from the crime scene.

"It's a trying time for us," Fells told CBC News. "We hope everybody continues to support the school.

"We had to modify a lot of the entrances to the building. Our building's locked. Entrances to our building are from Maitland Street only."

Police said there is no reason to believe the woman's death is connected in any way to the school.  However, parents and residents in the neighbourhood said they are concerned.

"The main topic for our kids right now, you know, is what happened to this woman," local resident Louise Skinner said. "You shouldn't have to grow up worrying about this kind of stuff day-to-day. I am just fed up with it."

"God knows how long she was there for," Nancy Wiseman, a single parent, said. "That's what's unnerving."

Police said while there were obvious injuries to the woman's body, they wouldn't say if a weapon was used.

Investigators asked neighbours to come forward if they saw anything happening at the school, especially on Sunday night.