Father charged with murder after 2 brothers found dead in Brampton, Ont., home
Quiet neighbourhood mourns kids as homicide unit takes over investigation
A Brampton, Ont., man has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder after his sons, nine and 12 years old, were found dead late Wednesday night at a home in a quiet residential neighbourhood.
Edwin Bastidas, 52, is being held for a bail hearing, Peel Regional Police said.
Police responded to a call from someone inside the home on Hiberton Crescent around 11 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Const. Heather Cannon said at a morning news conference at the scene.
Investigators are still trying to piece together what happened inside, she said.
Cannon could not say if Bastidas was previously known to police.
"As officers, when we come to scenes, especially when they involve children, it's difficult," she said.
She said later Thursday the bodies showed no obvious signs of trauma.
The homicide unit has taken over the investigation.
Neighbours said Jonathan Bastidas, 12, and Nicholas Bastidas, 9, lived in the home with their mother, father and aunt. Cannon told reporters she could not confirm who lived in the home.
The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board said the two boys were students at St. Bonaventure Catholic Elementary School, and news of their deaths has saddened the community. Multiple sources told CBC News that Jonathan had autism.
Area resident Nina Deabreu told reporters the boys liked to play soccer together at the school.
"This is terrible," she said.
Deabreu described the Bastidas as a friendly family, and said she never heard of any problems coming from the home.
She said the news that two boys were dead left her "in shock."
Zameena Hamid, who lives down the street from the Bastidas family, was awake when police and paramedics arrived at the home.
She said she would often speak with the "outgoing" family as they went for walks in the evening.
Hamid called the brothers "nice, happy kids" with a mischievous side.
Another area resident, Sam Mammen, said the neighbourhood has always been a safe place. "This is the first time something like this has happened," Mammen said.
Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown called the deaths "heartbreaking."
"As a parent, I just can't comprehend this. The crisis that led to this is yet unknown. But our whole community is grieving," Brown said on Twitter.
Police said the deaths mark Peel Region's 24th and 25th homicides this year.
Anyone with potentially valuable information is asked to contact the Peel police homicide unit or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers.
"Just because we've made an arrest, doesn't mean the investigation stops," Cannon said.
The school board said in a statement grief counsellors will be available to students and staff, and that the flag at St. Bonaventure has been lowered to half-mast.
With files from Linda Ward, Kate McGillivray and The Canadian Press