Peel Regional Police say a father has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder after his sons, a 12-year-old boy and a nine-year-old boy, were found dead inside a Brampton home Wednesday night.
Emergency crews responded to a medical assistance call at a residence on Hiberton Crescent, near Creditview Road and Sandalwood Parkway West, at around 10:55 p.m.
Police said when officers arrived, the two young boys were found dead. Shortly after, officers determined the deaths were suspicious, prompting the homicide unit to take over the investigation, police said.
Const. Heather Cannon told reporters Thursday afternoon that there were not “any obvious signs of trauma” to the children but would not say what their cause of death was.
Cannon said officers have since charged the boys’ father, 52-year-old Edwin Bastidas, with two counts of first-degree murder.
Neighbours identified the victims as Jonathan and Nicholas.
Police said the original 911 call came from within the house but would not say who made the call.
Investigators said it has been determined to be an “isolated incident” and that there is no threat to the community. No one else is currently facing charges in the incident.
Neighbours told Global News they believe the two boys were living with their mother and father, though police did not say who was home at the time of the boys’ deaths.
“If it’s the boys that I’m thinking of, they were quiet kids. They played on the street, they played road hockey, basketball … it’s just heart-wrenching the amount of kids on this corner,” Sarah Edwards, a neighbour on the street, said. “It could have been anybody. It could have been anybody’s kids. It’s not the way to wake up in the morning.”
Another neighbour, Paul Rodrigues, spoke to Global News and said his wife and daughter knew the people living in the residence. Rodrigues also said the boys had come by his own home as recently as Halloween night.
“I’m just in shock. I came home from work last night and saw the cruisers here,” Rodrigues said.
“They were just your regular, everyday boys. They walked their dog through the neighbourhood. My daughter plays with them once in a while when they’re in front of our house.”
The Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board said the boys were students at St. Bonaventure Catholic Elementary School in Brampton. Counselling is being provided for students and staff at the school.
“If this is indeed a case, domestic- or familial-related homicides, it is unfathomable,” Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said on Twitter Thursday.
“As a parent, I just can’t comprehend this. The crisis that lead to this is … unknown, but our whole community is grieving.”
Police said the deaths are Peel Region’s 24th and 25th homicide of the year.
Anyone with information relating to this investigation is asked to contact the homicide and missing persons bureau at 905-453-2121, ext. 3205, or anonymously by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
– With files from Ryan Rocca