Mississauga community in shock after teen boy’s slaying
Body of 14-year-old found in laneway, in what Peel police believe was ‘isolated incident’
The discovery of a boy found dead in a Mississauga laneway Friday morning has left local residents reeling, after a record-breaking year of homicides in the region claimed another victim under the age of 16.
The boy, who was found near Mississauga’s Meadow Park, has been identified by friends as 14-year-old Riley Martin.
Martin, several of his friends said, was a student at Clarkson Secondary School, which is about two kilometres southwest of where his body was found — near Hartington Court, close to Truscott Dr. and Southdown Rd.
Stella Tomisik, 16, said she knew Martin and spoke with him last in the summer. “I’m in tears,” she said. “I’m shaking.”
Peel police say Martin’s body was found by a passerby just before 8 a.m. Friday morning in a laneway connecting a residential cul-de-sac to a park attached to the schoolyard of a French school, École élémentaire Horizon Jeunesse.
“Investigators believe this is an isolated incident,” police said in a news release Friday afternoon. “There is no suspect information at this time.”
Const. Danny Marttini said police were still in the process of identifying the boy Friday.
Marttini added that the homicide investigation was triggered by evidence of trauma to the victim’s body. Police did not comment on whether weapons were involved, or if there were signs of a struggle.
“It is believed that the boy left his nearby home, late evening on Thursday. Unfortunately, I don’t know if he was in the company of anyone,” she told reporters. “It’s definitely possible that he was there overnight.”
“To my knowledge he was not reported missing,” she said.
By Friday afternoon, police could be seen outside a home on Truscott Dr., about 200 metres from the laneway where the boy’s body was found.
At about 1:30 p.m., firefighters crossed the police tape blocking access to the cul-de-sac, then removed a tarp that had been obstructing the view of the laneway, where officers were actively working.
Forensic identification officers were spotted combing through the laneway.
Residents in the area said the incident is traumatizing for people walking by the area. “A lot of police cars and no one is telling us much,” said Jesse Quintano, on Instagram. “I walk by there all the time.”
Carla Pereira, spokesperson for the Peel District School Board, said she could not confirm Martin was a student with the board, but said that, in cases where there is a death or a violent incident in the community, schools will always bring in additional supports to help students and staff if necessary.
Mary Zammit, the principal of Clarkson Secondary School, informed parents in a letter about “an incident that took place in our school community,” but said she could not offer any more information about the boy’s death because of the ongoing police investigation.
The letter said there was no indication from police that there was a connection between the homicide and an incident Monday that led to the school being placed in a hold-and-secure status. In that incident, a 19-year-old man was charged after an online threat to kill a Clarkson student.
When the principal of Horizon Jeunesse, which serves kids Kindergarten to Grade 6, arrived at the school, shortly after 8 a.m., police were already on scene, said Claire Francoeur, communication director of Conseil Scholaire Viamonde, which manages the French- language public schools in central southwestern Ontario.
Unaware of what was being investigated, the principal asked if it was necessary to put the school on a hold-and-secure order, which is how schools respond to threats and incidents in the area.
Police said there was no risk to students, but that it would be better if they stayed inside during recess and lunch while police carried out their investigation. They set up a command centre on school property.
Staff later learned from media reports that police were investigating the death of a boy.
“We made sure we had a social worker on site, because there was a lot of police around,” said Francoeur. “We wanted to be sure that we were taking care of them (students and staff ) and they could talk.”
“This is really, really sad …. Our thoughts are with the (victim’s) kid’s family,” she added.
Gerald Oubin, who lives near Meadow Park, said he didn’t observe any suspicious activity in the area when he went out cycling at about 5 a.m. Friday. Just hours later, police had filled the quaint neighbourhood near Mississauga’s south shores.
Shown a photo of the boy, local resident Natalie Kavanagh confirmed that the boy lived at the Truscott Drive home with his parents.
“He’s a cute kid,” said Kavanagh. “I’ve seen him around. I think there are two boys there.”
The boy’s death comes nearly 10 years to the day after the murder of a 13-year-old in Clarkson devastated the community. Aleksandra Firgan-He- wie was killed on Dec. 10, 2008. Her much older male friend was convicted of first-degree murder in the case.
In Toronto, five of the city’s record-breaking 92 homicide victims this year have been16 or under, including three boys killed in the past four months.
Durham Regional Police have also investigated homicides involving youth 16 and under this year, including the triple homicide in March in Ajax: Roy Pejcinovski, 15, Venallia Pejcinovski, 13, alongside their mother, Krassimira Pejcinovski, 39. Cory Fenn, 29, of Ajax, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder. Police say two of the victims were stabbed while a third was asphyxiated.
Police investigate after a body was found near Hartington Court on Friday.
Firefighters remove a tarp used to block the view of a laneway where a body was believed found.