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Deaths of 2 young brothers found in Scarborough apartment being treated as possible homicides: police

A Toronto police SUV parked at an apartment building where two brothers were found without vital signs on Sunday. Both were pronounced dead in hospital. (Prasanjeet Choudhury/CBC - image credit)
A Toronto police SUV parked at an apartment building where two brothers were found without vital signs on Sunday. Both were pronounced dead in hospital. (Prasanjeet Choudhury/CBC - image credit)

The deaths of two young brothers discovered unconscious inside a Scarborough apartment on the weekend are being investigated as possible homicides, Toronto police said Monday.

The boys, aged five and four, were found by police officers who responded to a residential building in the area of Kennedy and Ellesmere roads around 7:30 p.m. Sunday. They were both taken to separate trauma centres, where they were pronounced dead.

The children's 25-year-old mother was discovered on the ground outside the building and appears to have jumped from the balcony of their unit, said Insp. Terry Browne at a news conference. She is currently in hospital and will be undergoing surgery, Browne said. Her injuries are "quite serious" but she is expected to survive, he said.

When officers found her she was able to direct them to the unit where the boys were located, Browne said. Neither had vital signs when police forced their way into the locked unit. It's not clear what caused their deaths, he added. Autopsies are scheduled for later this week, no earlier than Wednesday.

"When we went inside, they were clearly vital signs absent, but there was also not a lot or any visible trauma to their bodies, so we don't know who caused the deaths of the two boys at this point," he said.

"So it's being treated as a suspicious death, two deaths, pending the outcome of the autopsy."

Investigators have spoken with relatives of the family who have all been co-operative, Browne said, and information provided to police so far suggests that both boys were "healthy and well" earlier Sunday.

Browne said that "given the circumstances" of the case, the homicide unit would be leading the investigation.

"Certainly, it's not an everyday occurrence where we have a situation where a young person dies with no known history or signs of trauma, but to have two of the same family found in this, the way it's presented ... we're acting on inferences but we're drawing no conclusions at this point."

No one else was inside the apartment when officers found the boys, Browne said.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Toronto police or to leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers.