Dozens of residents gathered on a Brampton street on Wednesday to remember two young boys who were found dead in their home, gathering to light candles and to share fond memories.
“It didn’t cross my mind that it would happen … it just happened out of nowhere. I didn’t expect it — no one did,” Magda Strzelczyk, a student at St. Bonaventure Catholic Elementary School, told reporters after the vigil Wednesday evening.
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.
Peel Regional Police said when officers arrived, two young boys were found dead. A short time later, police said officers determined the deaths were suspicious — prompting the homicide unit to take over the investigation.
Police said the father of nine-year-old Nicolas Bastidas and his 12-year-old brother Jonathan Bastidas, 52-year-old Edwin Bastidas, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder. The charges haven’t been proven in court.
At the vigil, Megan Rodrigues, another student at St. Bonaventure Catholic Elementary School where the Bastidas brothers also attended, said she wrote a prayer in honour of Nicolas and Jonathan. She said she hasn’t been able “to get [her] head around it.”
“I really do love them a lot and I just wanted people to know they still are here, but not with us today,” Rodrigues said.
Strzelczyk said she remembers how Jonathan had a good sense of humour and how Nicolas always had a toy car, noting he “loved to play with toy cars.”
“I really do care for them,” she said.
Ahmed Abdool Hamid said he lives next to the Bastidas family home. He said he is still in shock over the incident, adding he wonders if a more cohesive community could have made a difference.
“In this country, you only know people by saying, ‘Hi,’ and, ‘Hello.’ Sometimes if you get to know them a little deeper, these things, I think, they can be prevented,” he said.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign was launched in support the mother of the boys, Sylvana, and her family “to help them get through this tough time of mourning.” As of Wednesday night, more than $20,000 was raised.
— With files from Jessica Patton and Albert Delitala