Montreal police are investigating after the bodies of two young children and their father were found inside a home in the borough of Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.
The mother of the children arrived at the red-brick residence at the intersection of Curatteau Street and Pierre-de Coubertin Avenue on Tuesday evening to discover the gruesome scene.
Police were called to the house around 9 p.m. where they discovered the bodies of a 40-year-old man, a seven-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl.
“When the first police officers arrived, they unfortunately confirmed the deaths at the scene,” said police spokesperson Manuel Couture.
The Quebec coroner’s office has confirmed the identity of the father as Jonathan Pomares. The coroner does not release the identities of minor victims.
The children’s bodies bore signs of violence, according to police. An autopsy has been ordered into their deaths.
Investigators told Global News they believe he killed his children before taking his own life.
“We are still going to investigate until we know exactly what happened,” said Couture.
Police officers taken off the case
The nature of the scene was particularly violent, according to police.
As a result, the police officers who first arrived at the scene late Tuesday were taken off the case. They have since been offered assistance.
“We are police officers, but we are also mothers, father of children,” said Couture. “And the first thing the commander of the station did was take them off the case and gave the attention and help they needed.”
Psychological assistance is also being provided at the school attended by the two young children, according to the Commission scolaire de Montréal.
Investigators with the police force stayed at the scene until around 9 a.m. Wednesday. As part of their investigation, they interviewed neighbours in the area and had to track down family overseas to advise them of the victims’ deaths.
Throughout the day, neighbours have created a makeshift memorial outside the home. The wooden steps leading to the front door are lined with stuffed animals.
Gaétan St-Louis, who lives in the east-end neighbourhood, said he didn’t personally know the victims but that he was shaken when he learned the news through media reports early Wednesday morning.
“I’m a person who doesn’t live far from here at all and it’s an event that really shook me,” he said. “It’s hard to explain how a human being could commit such deplorable acts like this.”
Josée Fortin is also a neigbour of sorts. She’s the founder and director general of Kangaroo House, a non-profit located on Sherbrooke Street, just a short distance from where the tragedy occurred.
Kangaroo House offers primary care services and emergency accommodation for children whose families are going through difficult situations.
Fortin wants to spread the word that help is often only a phone call away.
“We offer 350 sleepovers for kids in emergency and we receive about 700 calls a year,” she said. “So there’s a lot of parents, once they know we’re here, that we exist, they do call.”
Fortin says the first thing to do when someone reaches out for help is to listen.
“They need to tell somebody, they need not to be judged and they need to say ‘hey, my life is crumbling,'” she said.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the Quebec suicide prevention line at 1-866-277-3553.
— With files from Global News’ Brittany Henriques, and the Canadian Press