Mom, 6-year-old found dead
Two lived in East York apartment
Tenants complained of powerful stench

Dec. 13, 2004. 06:40 AM


A mother and her 6-year-old son were found dead in an East York basement apartment yesterday, after a landlord investigated reports from his tenants of a putrid stench that had lasted three days.


The landlord of the O'Connor Dr. building found the body of Leah Marie Mindach, police said.


Firefighters later found her son. Homicide detectives aren't yet sure how Mindach and her son died, but the case is believed to be a murder-suicide.


Neighbours saw the pair behind the three-storey, red-brick building about two weeks ago, where they were helping to rescue a pair of stray kittens. Mindach's father William, who lives in Gambo, Nfld., said he spoke to his daughter about a week ago.


By mid-afternoon yesterday, the small complex, which sits in line with several similar buildings on O'Connor near St. Clair Ave. E., was crawling with police officers, forensic investigators and an animal control officer who arrived but didn't remove any animals.


The bodies were found in apartment 101, which was inhabited by two people, one of them a child, said the landlord, who would give his name only as Mike. He wouldn't confirm if those tenants were Mindach and her son.


The apartment lies in the back of the building, along an alleyway that leads to the parking lot.


The blinds on the basement apartment windows were drawn tightly shut. One window appeared to open into a child's bedroom, which had an electronic storybook, a pair of ceramic gnomes and a stained-glass wizard sitting on the sill. The curtains were printed with a pattern of NASCAR logos and race cars.


Police had taped off the building and Mindach's car yesterday, which sat snow-covered, with a child's Pokémon trading cards scattered on the back seat.


For at least three days, a rotten smell has been spreading throughout the building, tenants said.


"I thought there was something dead in there ...The scent was rotten. It was a really nasty scent," said Elaina, who has lived on the building's third floor for about a year.


She would not give her last name and said she didn't know Mindach. The building's tenants, she said, are "quiet."


If investigators conclude that the deaths were the result of domestic turmoil, Mindach and her son will be the fifth and sixth such deaths in the Toronto area in the first 12 days of December.


Toronto homicide detectives believe that on Dec. 1, Andrea Labbe, a 26-year-old stay-at-home mom, stabbed her husband Brian Langer and two of their three children, killing Langer and their 3-year-old daughter Zoe, before killing herself.


And on Friday, 47-year-old Aysegul Candir was gunned down in the parking lot of Bramalea Secondary School, where she was an ESL teacher. Candir later died. Police have charged her husband Erhun in the attack.