Mur­der sus­pect on the run

Wo­man found dead in home; wanted teen lived at res­i­dence with his mother, neigh­bours say

Ottawa Citizen - - News - BY ANDREW THOM­SON, CIARA BYRNE, AND DON BUT­LER

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.

WAYNE CUDDINGTON, THE OTTAWA CIT­I­ZEN

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.

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