‘We are heartbroken’: Ex-husband wanted after woman found dead in Brampton, police say

Click to play video: 'Canada-wide warrant issued for Toronto man wanted for first-degree murder of ex-wife'
Canada-wide warrant issued for Toronto man wanted for first-degree murder of ex-wife
WATCH ABOVE: As Catherine McDonald reports, Heeral Patel was a hardworking woman who had two jobs and told a friend she had recently left her husband. – Jan 16, 2020

Peel Regional Police say officers are searching for the ex-husband of a woman who was found dead in a Brampton green space on Monday evening.

Police said officers were called to the area of Nexus Avenue and Fogal Road shortly before 6 p.m. for reports that a body had been located in a green space.

Officers later deemed the death suspicious, and homicide detectives took over the investigation.

On Thursday, police identified the victim as 28-year-old Heeral Patel of Toronto and added they are searching for her ex-husband, 36-year-old Rakeshbhai Patel of Toronto.

Toronto police tweeted on Sunday that Heeral was reported missing and was last seen in the Islington Avenue and Steeles Avenue West area around 11 p.m. Saturday.

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Officers subsequently set up a command post in their search for her.

Global News has learned that Heeral Patel held down two jobs, one at the Villa Leonardo Gambin nursing home in Woodbridge, and the other at a Tim Horton’s in the west end of Toronto.

A co-worker who worked with Patel at the nursing home, who did not want to be identified, said Patel was a personal support worker. She attended Ryerson University part-time for nursing.

“She was a great worker — quiet, kept to herself,” said the woman.

The colleague said she last saw Patel leaving work at 11 p.m. on Saturday and realized something was wrong when she returned to work on Sunday and saw police reviewing surveillance video at the front entrance. She said a number of employees were also interviewed by police.

Andrew Iacobelli, chair of Villa Leonardo Gambin’s board of directors, called Patel’s death “an enormous personal loss” to everyone at the nursing home.

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“We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of a young team member who was committed to her profession,” he said in a statement.

“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to Heeral Patel’s family and friends, including the many colleagues she worked with at Villa Leonardo Gambin.”

Hannah Robbins, who worked with Patel at Tim Horton’s, said she arrived at work on Sunday afternoon and learned that Patel had not arrived for her 5 a.m. shift.

“It was very unusual for her not to show up and especially not call,” said Robbins.

Click to play video: 'Police continue to search for man wanted for 1st-degree murder of ex-wife'
Police continue to search for man wanted for 1st-degree murder of ex-wife

She said Patel considered her like a little sister and had confided in Robbins that she had split up with her husband a few months earlier.

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“She finally managed leave,” explained Robbins, saying Patel seemed happier since moving out of Rakeshbhai’s apartment.

Robbins said she had never met Patel’s ex-husband, but added he would frequently pick up her after her shift before they separated. Robbins called him controlling and knew they had wed in an arranged marriage back in India.

Meanwhile, anyone with information on the case is asked to contact police at 905-453-2121, ext. 3205, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

— With files from Ryan Rocca and Nick Westoll

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