The woman found dead inside her Rexdale townhome Wednesday night, after a fire police say was intentionally set, has been identified to Global News as Yvonne Bachelor, a 61-year-old single mother and nurse at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
In an email sent to Bachelor’s co-workers, Dr. Catherine Zahn, president and CEO of CAMH, said, “My thoughts today are with the many staff members who knew and worked with Yvonne and I offer my sincere condolences to her family and friends on behalf of the entire CAMH team.
“Like you, I am full of sorrow today at the loss of someone who was a core part of the CAMH community.”
Bachelor’s son, 24-year-old Joel Vassell, has been charged with arson and is facing further charges.
Police sources tell Global News that on Wednesday night, around the same time police and firefighters were responding to the fire on Stallion Place, near Kipling Avenue and Rexdale Boulevard, Vassell called police from the Etobicoke General Hospital and allegedly said he had set a fire at the same address where his mother lived.
He also said he knew someone was still inside.
Vassell appeared in a North York courtroom Thursday and showed no emotion as his lawyer told the Crown that more charges were likely in the days to come.
The Toronto police homicide squad is now in charge of the investigation.
Global News has learned that Vassell, who was found not criminally responsible in June 2015 on charges of assault with a weapon and attempted murder in 2014 involving his mother and grandmother, respectively, was living in the community.
According to the most recent disposition and reasons from the Ontario Review Board, dated Oct. 3, 2019, Vassell continued to pose a significant threat to public safety.
The Ontario Review Board oversees individuals who have been found not criminally responsible.
While he was ordered detained at the General Forensic Service of the Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, Vassell was given privileges in August 2018, allowing him to live in the community.
According to Ontario Review Board documents, “The unit social workers approved a placement in Richmond Hill and Mr. Vassell was discharged to community living on August 28, 2018” before starting a full-time college program in September 2018.
The privileges continued after his most recent ORB hearing in September 2019, despite the fact there were some concerns regarding Vassell’s level of engagement with the Forensic Outpatient Service and potential community supports.
Three relatives — his aunt, his uncle and cousin — provided a victim impact statement describing their pain around the attack on Vassell’s grandmother, but also that they continue to be fearful of him and remained concerned about any current or future contact with him.
A no-contact order between Vassell and those three relatives was issued.
The report also stated that although compliant with medication, Vassell also frequently required prompting for medical renewals. In August 2019, Vassell’s nightly dosage of an anti-psychotic medication was also reduced at his request.
His treatment team also noted that Joel Vassell had been expressing more dissatisfaction regarding his relationship with his mother, though it was unclear whether this reflected a change from his typical symptom baseline.
When contacted for a comment about Joel Vassell’s arrest, Joe Wright, legal counsel for the Ontario Review Board, said, “like other judicial and quasi-judicial decision makers, the Board speaks through its dispositions and reasons.
Toronto police have yet to determine the cause of Yvonne Bachelor’s death. The Office of the Fire Marshal remains at the scene probing how the fire started.
John Muise, a retired Toronto police officer and former Parole Board of Canada member, said this tragic case once again highlights his concern for the way the NCR system works
“The legislation governing ORB decision making is in need of urgent review, so as to eliminate the wide ranging discretionary authority provided to institutions like Ontario Shores,” he said.
“It should be replaced with a risk assessment model akin to the Parole Board of Canada, where release decision making is independent and out of the hands of those working in the institution alongside the offender/accused.”