A 45-year-old man has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder Tuesday in connection with the deaths of his two children in their family home north of Montreal.
The father was expected to appear by videoconference at the Laval courthouse in the afternoon, but Crown prosecutors confirmed it was postponed until Wednesday. Kamaljit Arora has also been charged with one count of assault by strangulation of his wife, according to prosecutors.
Laval police discovered the bodies of an 11-year-old boy and his 13-year-old sister after officers were called to a private residence on Lauzon Street in the Sainte-Dorothée neighbourhood shortly before 6 p.m. Monday. They were responding to a call from neighbours.
Investigators have publicly described the crime as a “family tragedy.” Police sources told Global News that the two children were drowned in the bathtub.
First responders tried unsuccessfully to revive both children, but they were taken to hospital and pronounced dead a short time later.
A second adult — possibly the mother, according to neighbours — managed to seek refuge in a nearby home and authorities were called. She was treated for shock.
The man, who was later identified as the deceased children’s father, was arrested and taken to hospital with unspecified injuries.
Investigators remained at the scene in the morning, trying to determine what led to the deaths of the two children.
The semi-detached house where the children were found is just a few hundred metres from École Pierre-Laporte, an elementary school where one of the two children was enrolled, Laval school commission spokeswoman Annie Goyette confirmed in an email.
“A team of professionals is on site to provide support to the students and school staff under the circumstances,” Goyette wrote. “A letter has also been sent home to all parents to inform them of the situation.”
Goyette said the school commission’s thoughts are with family, relatives and friends of the two victims.
Global News spoke to a neighbour at the scene, who said she walks by the home every day and would often see the boy and girl outside. She said everyone was texting one another after they found out, but that she’s at a loss for words.
“The whole neighbourhood is devastated by this tragedy. It’s so sad that it happened so close to home.”
Laval Mayor Stéphane Boyer took to social media to offer condolences to the family members of the young victims.
“All of Laval is in mourning,” he wrote.
Quebec Premier François Legault said it was an “unspeakable tragedy” and that his thoughts are with the children’s loved ones.
“I can’t imagine their pain,” he said.
— with files from The Canadian Press