MONTREAL — A steady stream of shocked locals stopped Wednesday outside the east-end Montreal house where two children and their father were found dead the night before in what police are investigating as two murders and a suicide.
Police say a woman phoned 911 just after 9 p.m. Tuesday to report that three people were possibly dead inside an east-end home — a 40 year-old man, a seven-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl.
“She said she discovered three bodies inside a house,” Const. Manuel Couture said.
He confirmed the man was the father of the two young victims and that all three were declared dead at the scene by paramedics.
The Quebec coroner’s office identified the father as Jonathan Pomares, 40, of Montreal. The coroner does not release identities of minor victims.
Investigators questioned neighbours in the area and concluded their work at the scene about 9 a.m. Wednesday. Their working theory is the father allegedly killed his two children before taking his own life.
“They’re still trying to figure out how it happened, why it happened,” Couture said.
A carved pumpkin sat on the porch of the red brick bungalow, where the front steps quickly filled up with stuffed animals and flowers left by passersby. ”Bon voyage, little angels,” read one note left at the scene.
One woman, who said she lived nearby, said the gestures of sympathy were meant to remind the children’s mother that she wasn’t alone at such a difficult time.
Another woman, after carefully placing a stuffed bear, said she couldn’t make sense of the tragic event. “Incredible that with all the resources we have today something like this can happen,” she said, declining to give her name. “Two angels too many on this day.”
Police say there were signs of violence on the bodies of both children, and autopsies have been ordered.
Investigators had to track down family abroad in order to advise them of the deaths — neighbours and acquaintances said the family came to Canada from France. One neighbour said they had lived in the quaint home for less than two years.
Chantal Lachapelle said she had trained with Pomares and he worked as a cook in area schools. “For sure it’s upsetting, we spent nearly a month with Jonathan last year in training. He seemed like a bon vivant, he was very friendly,” she said. “He told us he had two kids and that he came from France.”
Denis Gagnon, whose daughter Chrystelle was murdered nearly two decades ago in nearby Laval, Que., also stopped to pay his respects.
“I know what the mother is going through, and it’s very difficult,” he said. “It makes no sense.”
The crime scene was particularly violent, and police officers who responded to the case were offered assistance.
“We are police officers, but we are also mothers, fathers of children, and the first thing the commander of the station did was take them off the case and gave them the attention and help they needed,” Couture said.
A spokesman for the Commission scolaire de Montreal said psychological help has also been provided for children at the school attended by the two young victims.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2019.
Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press