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Cold Case Files: Toronto mother still searching for answers 10 years after son’s murder

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WATCH ABOVE: It’s been over a decade since 21-year-old Patrick Santos was found dead in his biological father’s backyard in Scarborough. Family and police are still on the search for the person responsible – Nov 3, 2016

Patrick Santos was murdered 10 years ago after being found bound, beaten and suffocated in his father’s backyard in Toronto’s east-end and police believe his killer is still out there.

While getting ready to go to church, Santos’ mother Juliet Sweet received a phone call from her son’s biological father.

He had found Santos dead in his own backyard — on Bridlington Street in Scarborough —  bound at the wrists and ankles, beaten and suffocated.

READ MORE: Cold Case Files: Toronto police searching for killer linked to 2 murders from 1983

“It felt like someone stabbed me in the back. That’s the feeling,” Sweet said.

“It was almost like my life was finished.”

Santos was at a downtown club with friends the night before and the last communication he had before his death was with his girlfriend at 3 a.m.

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“Based on the scene and what had happened to him and how his body was left, the investigators determined more than person had to be responsible for this crime,” Toronto police homicide squad Det. Sgt. Stacy Gallant told Global News.

READ MORE: Cold Case Files: Ontario police continue to hunt Yvonne Leroux’s killer 44 years later

“We believe the offenders that were responsible for this murder were waiting in his backyard for him … It was little bit hilly in the backyard (and) in the cover of darkness (they) waited knowing that he was on his way home,” he added.

WATCH: Mother and stepfather speak about son’s murder in Toronto 10 years ago
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WATCH: Mother and stepfather speak about son’s murder 10 years ago – Nov 3, 2016

“They knew his patterns and that he would be coming him at this particular time.”

Photo of 21-year-old Patrick Santos. Toronto Police Services
Photo of the crime scene , Sept. 17, 2006. Toronto Police Services
Photo of the crime scene, taken Sept. 17, 2006. Toronto Police Services
Photo of the crime scene, taken Sept. 17, 2006. Toronto Police Services
Patrick was found bound, beaten and suffocated at his father's house on Bridlington Street. Toronto Police Services
Photo of the crime scene, Sept. 17, 2006. Toronto Police Services
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More photos found on the crime scene, taken Sept. 17, 2006. Toronto Police Services

After his death, police discovered Santos was involved in criminal activity involving debit card and credit card skimming.

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“He was also dabbling in some unsophisticated criminal enterprises utilizing debit cards,” Gallant said.

“Commonly (known) as skimming. (He was) using other peoples debit cards and pin numbers and obtaining cash in that fashion and that was being done with some other associates.”

His family didn’t know about his alleged criminal life.

“If Patrick had done something that we don’t know, he was probably running away from these bad people,” Sweet said.

READ MORE: Cold Case Files: 32 years later, Ontario mother still searching for daughter’s killer

After years of searching for the suspects without results, police pursued specialized forensic phenotype testing for more clues.

Forensic phenotype testing uses DNA to identify physical features like hair colour and eye colour. Phenotypic testing can also reveal ancestry from a DNA sample.

“The return on this particular case was a high probability that the offender was of mixed race – black and white – and would have had brown eyes and black hair,” Gallant said.

“In conjunction with the 10 years that have gone by, it’s my belief the offender would be somewhere between the range of 35 to 40 years old currently based on the age of Mr. Santos at the time.”

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READ MORE: Cold Case Files: Ontario family recalls moments after daughter’s death 29 years ago

Gallant said he believes Patrick’s killer is still roaming free and investigators are appealing to the public for help.

“He knew who these people were and these people were targeting him for a specific reason. Was it for money? Was it for something else?,” he said.

“That is all speculation, but as I said, at least two people were involved at the very minimal.”