New details are coming to light on Tuesday about a mother who was found dead along with her 13-year-old and eight-year-old sons in a Thorncliffe Park apartment over the weekend.
Zahra Abdille, 43, came to Canada in 2001 with her husband and their first-born son. Friends say she learned English and graduated from the Adult Learning Centre on the Danforth before becoming a nurse practitioner at Toronto Public Health.
Workers at the Pat Schulz Child Care Centre, who looked after the two boys when they were infants, said all three were like family to her.
“I haven’t even had time to process it,” Shantih Lawrence with centre said. “I’m sort of just trying to get through my day. I’m still teaching in my class and in the back of my mind I’m like – I can’t believe this is happening.”
Kristi Bovaconti, the director at the centre, said she spoke with Abdille just last week and she sounded fine.
“It’s shocking when you first hear something like that and know that you just spoke to these people not that long ago,” she said.”It’s very upsetting.”
Bovaconti said every year at Christmas time Abdille’s husband would phone the centre and leave a long message expressing his appreciation for everything they had done for the family.
“We would’ve gotten that message from Dad again because it happened consistently every year, and it’s not going to happen this year,” she said. “We knew how lovely they were – both of them. Somebody will figure out what happened.”
Police have not said how Abdille and her two sons died, nor have they released details on a possible connection to a police investigation that shut down a section of the Don Valley Parkway for several hours on Saturday, the same day the bodies were discovered.
Flags at both of the children’s schools were lowered to half mast on Tuesday.
A candlelight vigil was held outside 85 Thorncliffe Park Drive on Tuesday.