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Edmonton mother sought refuge from man accused of killing her children

Click to play video: 'Edmonton police explain circumstances around ‘senseless deaths’ of 2 children' Edmonton police explain circumstances around ‘senseless deaths’ of 2 children
WATCH ABOVE: A 29-year-old has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder after two young children were found dead in an east Edmonton apartment suite on Wednesday night. Homicide acting Staff Sgt. Terrie Affolder called the deaths "senseless." She explains the circumstances surrounding the incident – Dec 7, 2018

A man charged in the deaths of two young children in Edmonton earlier this week was ordered by the courts on Oct. 31 to have no contact with their mother.

Court documents show Ashton Brian Lafleche, 29, faces two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Mackenzie Petawaysin and Mary Lafleche Petawaysin.

He’s also charged with assault causing bodily harm to the children’s mother, Tamara Petawaysin, and breach of probation for failing to comply with an order on Oct. 31 to have no contact with her.

On Friday morning, Edmonton police said the accused was the biological father of one of the children.

Sources close to the mother told Global News she had recently sought help at a local women’s shelter with her two daughters.

Tamara was living in a women’s shelter as recently as the middle of October after she had been assaulted by Lafleche and was trying to keep her family safe.

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One source said Mackenzie and Mary meant everything to Tamara. The source said she was a really good mom who was working to get her life back on track.

Watch below: Friends of the woman allegedly assaulted by a man now accused in the deaths of her two girls say she she and her kids were in a women’s shelter as recently as six weeks ago. Sarah Kraus reports.

Click to play video: 'Mother of 2 little girls killed in Edmonton sought shelter' Mother of 2 little girls killed in Edmonton sought shelter
Mother of 2 little girls killed in Edmonton sought shelter – Dec 8, 2018

They said the problem was that she really loved Lafleche and was blinded by that emotion. According to the source, Tamara said she thought he could change and join her on the straight and narrow path she was moving towards.

Tamara had just moved into her apartment near the end of October – and was excited about having a home for her little girls, the source told Global News.

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READ MORE: 2 children found dead in Edmonton apartment, homicide unit investigating

Ashton Brian Lafleche, 29, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of two children on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. Obtained by Global News

Court documents also reveal Lafleche has a criminal history dating back to January 2017, which includes convictions for assaulting a peace officer, theft under $5,000, uttering threats and possession of a controlled substance.

On Oct. 31, Lafleche was in court in Edmonton, where he pleaded guilty to assault and failing to comply with conditions. He was given a $100 fine and 12 months’ probation, court documents state.

According to the documents, on Nov. 30, Lafleche was sentenced to 20 days in jail after pleading guilty to a charge of breaching the conditions of his release. It’s not known why Lafleche was not in custody at the time of the children’s deaths.

Watch below: A 29-year-old man has been charged with second-degree murder in the deaths of two young girls in Edmonton and is also accused of assaulting the girls’ mother. Kent Morrison reports.

Click to play video: 'Man charged in deaths of 2 young Edmonton girls' Man charged in deaths of 2 young Edmonton girls
Man charged in deaths of 2 young Edmonton girls – Dec 7, 2018

According to police, at around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, officers received a domestic call that a woman who appeared to have been assaulted was being chased by a man in the area of 79 Avenue and 71 Street.

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The woman was taken to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries and the man was not located, police said.

Police said they didn’t know where the two children were at the time.

“Officers were unable to locate the children during an initial search of the rental suite of the female’s [home] where she lived with the two children,” homicide acting Staff Sgt. Terrie Affolder said.
An undated photo of Mary Lafleche Petawaysin (in the pink shirt) and Mackenzie Petawaysin (in the red shirt). Obtained by Global News
A photo of Mary Lafleche Petawaysin that was shared on social media on Oct. 18, 2018. Obtained by Global News

Affolder said at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, police said they received information about a naked man, acting erratically. He was found in a nearby garage that he had broken into at 73 Street and 80 Avenue and taken into custody on assault, police said.

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“After questioning the male suspect regarding the whereabouts of the children, officers once again returned to the suite and conducted a secondary search for them,” Affolder said.

“The children were subsequently located deceased in a room in the suite that was being used as a storage room. Their bodies were found concealed under various household items.”

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Teddy bears were placed outside an Edmonton apartment building where the bodies of two children were found early in the week, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. Kent Morrison, Global News
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The Edmonton Police Service's homicide unit is investigating after two children's bodies were discovered in an apartment building at 79 Avenue and 71 Street on Wednesday night. Paul Rampersaud/ Global News
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The Edmonton Police Service's homicide unit is investigating after two children's bodies were discovered in an apartment building at 79 Avenue and 71 Street on Wednesday night. Sarah Kraus/ Global News
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The Edmonton Police Service's homicide unit is investigating after two children's bodies were discovered in an apartment building at 79 Avenue and 71 Street on Wednesday night. Sarah Kraus/ Global News

Affolder said the accused did not live with the woman or the two kids. She said police would not release the name of the accused or the victims as it serves no investigative purpose.

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Cristian Tobar, who lives in the same apartment building where the girls’ bodies were found, told Global News he had heard arguing coming from the apartment for three days before the bodies were discovered.

“She said, ‘I’m going to kill you — I hate when you do this. I just moved in here. You always come back.’ I think he didn’t live here but I think he’d found her and started arguing again.”

WATCH BELOW: The Edmonton Police Service is investigating after two children’s bodies were discovered in an apartment building on Wednesday night. Police said the deaths were being treated as suspicious.

Police did not release the ages of the children, only saying they were “very young.”

Autopsies were being conducted Friday morning and results were originally expected later in the day, according to police. On Friday afternoon, police said the results would not be available until next week.

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On Friday, police said the accused was known to them.

Lafleche appeared briefly by closed-circuit television in provincial court Friday morning. Lafleche’s defence lawyer, Gary Smith, set the matter over to Dec. 21 and declined to comment outside court.

READ MORE: Edmonton homicide rate among Canada’s highest

Affolder said the impact of the case has been felt across the community, including by officers.

“Some of our responding members are now receiving assistance from our Employee and Family Assistance Unit.”

With files from Global News’ Sarah Kraus and The Canadian Press.

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