Murder suspect on the run
Woman found dead in home; wanted teen lived at residence with his mother, neighbours say
Police are searching for a 19-yearold Ottawa man wanted for first-degree murder after the body of a woman was discovered in a Gage Crescent home.
A Canada-wide warrant for Aaron Howard, who was last seen Thursday night, was issued yesterday, a day after police made the discovery at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
It was the city’s fourth homicide of the year.
Neighbours said tactical units bashed in the doors and entered the house at 1735 Gage Cres., just north of Baseline Road in the Bel Air Heights area.
The victim hasn’t been identified by police, but neighbours said Mr. Howard lived at the house, a greybrick bungalow with white siding, with his mother.
The home’s phone number is registered to Deborah Frankel-Howard, a former public servant who once wrote about family violence.
Neighbours also said the woman may have been missing for up to 10 days.
Police taped off the property yesterday, scouring the house and backyard for evidence.
The cause of death has not been released, but Const. Isabelle Lemieux said police don’t think it was a random act of violence.
An autopsy was scheduled for yesterday in Toronto.
Mr. Howard was last seen in Ottawa on Thursday at 8 p.m., carrying a black and red suitcase. His whereabouts are unknown.
Nearby residents said the household was quiet and insular, something of an anomaly in the close-knit neighbourhood. They often saw Mr. Howard walking down the street to catch the bus while listening to music, and often saw his mother walking her dog.
“It was just the two in the house,” said Stefano Marcantonito, who lives a few homes down. “There was never any yelling or screaming.
“From what I hear, she’s been missing for 10 days.”
Mr. Marcantonito also said he saw the suspect working at Tim Hortons at College Square in Nepean. The restaurant’s management said no one by Mr. Howard’s name was employed there. They declined further comment because of the police investigation.
Another neighbour, John Palmer, said police had been at the scene as early as Thursday morning. He and his wife last saw Mr. Howard on Wednesday night at 8 p.m., when he walked past their home. One night later, Mr. Palmer saw police speak for a long time to a man in his 50s who pulled into Ms. Frankel-Howard’s driveway.
“They seemed like just a regular family in the ’burbs,” Mr. Palmer said. “It’s a scary thought.”
Mr. Howard graduated from Glebe Collegiate Institute in 2005 and is enrolled in Algonquin College’s media arts program, according to his online Facebook profile.
Tyler Blanchett knows him from their time at high school, though they weren’t close friends. He last saw Mr. Howard a few weeks ago in their neighbourhood.
“He’s a very friendly guy,” Mr. Blanchett said. “He was into sports.”
Asha Theodore, 19, said she was introduced to Mr. Howard by a friend and they briefly dated, but she has not seen him for more than a year.
“He seemed like he was sort of going down a bad road, but at the same time … he was sort of turning his life around,” she said.
Ms. Theodore once visited Mr. Howard’s home and met his mother.
“She was really friendly. She ordered us pizza and pop.”
Ms. Frankel-Howard worked for Health Canada, and its predecessor, Health and Welfare Canada, for many years.
In what now seems like a chilling irony, in 1989 she prepared a 115-page bilingual review of theoretical and clinical literature on family violence for Health and Welfare’s policy, communications and information branch.
The review, frequently cited in subsequent reports and studies of family violence, focused mostly on sexual and physical abuse, but also touched on emotional abuse and neglect.
In 1994, the Justice Department described the review as “an excellent summary and analysis of theories and research on family violence” that could help “set the tone for background information provided in documents for victims and service providers.”
When she attended a workshop sponsored by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy in 2000, Ms. FrankelHoward was a senior adviser in Health Canada’s Health Protection Program.
By 2003, she was director of branch issues in the risk management division of the department’s Health Products and Food Branch. That same year, minutes of a meeting of the branch’s public advisory committee list her as representing the assistant deputy minister’s office.
Also in 2003, the Treasury Board posted an “interview” with her on its website, discussing the development and introduction of a new “Decision Making Framework” at Health Canada in response to the 1997 Krever Commission inquiry into tainted blood.
The document still appears on the Treasury Board website. There are no more Internet references to Ms. Frankel-Howard after 2003, and her name does not appear in the government of Canada’s online directory.
Mr. Howard is described as black, between 5-foot-10 and 5-foot-11, with a medium athletic build and long, dreadlocked hair. Police have no indication that he is armed.
Ottawa police urge anyone with information about his whereabouts to 613-236-1222 ext. 5493, or Crime Stoppers at 613-233-8477.
Police monitor a Gage Crescent home yesterday, a day after the body of woman was discovered inside the residence. A Canada-wide warrant has been issued for a 19-year-old wanted for first-degree murder.
Aaron Howard, a 19-year-old Algonquin College student, was last seen Thursday night.