Troubled relationship ends in tragedy

Domestic dispute on Christmas Day leaves two dead in Rexdale apartment

From Friday's Globe and Mail

Iliada Zois dreamed of one day seeing her face on more than just the cover of Wal-Mart Canada's World magazine.

The 22-year-old Toronto resident, who imagined becoming an actor and model, instead spent her last few weeks working two full-time retail jobs and confiding in co-workers and friends about a difficult five-year relationship with her boyfriend.

Ms. Zois and a 14-year-old boy were found dead in the woman's Rexdale high-rise apartment after a Christmas Day domestic dispute that turned violent, police said yesterday.

Detective Sergeant Gary Grinton of the Toronto police homicide squad said the bodies of the two victims weren't discovered until Wednesday night, when a 16-year-old man suffering from knife wounds walked into the 23 Division police station just a few blocks from the high-rise, and led officers to Apartment 217 at Beacon Hill Towers on 2737 Kipling Ave., just north of Finch Avenue West.

"This was a domestic situation that went really bad," Det. Sgt. Grinton said. "It was one of the nastier ones I've seen ... in the 30 years I've been on the job."

Yesterday, police arrested 27-year-old Nana Yaw, whom they identified as Ms. Zois's common-law partner, and charged him with two counts of second-degree murder. He was also charged with one count each of attempted murder and forcible confinement.

Det. Sgt. Grinton said Mr. Yaw called police from a phone booth near Steeles and Kipling Avenues at about 6 a.m. yesterday and turned himself in. The man underwent surgery for non-life-threatening knife wounds at a Toronto hospital, but Det. Sgt. Grinton would not say if they were related to the Christmas Day dispute. Police said the two teens were relatives of Ms. Zois.

It was no secret to Ms. Zois's friends, co-workers and a neighbour that the woman was in a troubled relationship.

"I knew she was having problems with her boyfriend but I had no idea it was this bad," said a woman who worked with Ms. Zois at Fairview Mall's La Senza Girl, and asked that her name not be used.

Darren Cedar, a man who claims to have had a 10-year online friendship with Ms. Zois, said the woman told him she was scared of her boyfriend and had recently been looking to move out of their shared apartment.

Ingrid Wilson, whose apartment is on the same floor as Ms. Zois's, said she frequently encountered the couple in the hallway after they moved in more than a year ago.

"They seemed okay together," she said. "No jealousy."

But recently it seemed trouble was brewing between them, she said, adding that for two weeks she had heard yelling coming from the apartment late at night and early in the morning.

"On the weekends I usually heard lots of fighting on that side. Lots of noise - loud," Ms. Wilson said.

Shiva Taghani, who had worked with Ms. Zois at La Senza Girl for more than four years, said the woman was "a very hard worker" who spent 100 hours a week at two jobs. Ms. Zois also worked at a west-end Wal-Mart.

Ms. Zois's profile on the social-networking website Facebook proudly displays a scan of herself on the cover of Wal-Mart Canada's in-house magazine, as well as many self-taken glamour shots and an application where other users can rate her "hotness."

"She always wanted to do more with her life and always wanted to be famous," said Cheyenne Kirby, who attended Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute with Ms. Zois. She said Ms. Zois, who had also studied child psychology at Centennial College, had dreamed of becoming a model or an actress.

Yesterday afternoon, Toronto police officers guarded Ms. Zois's apartment, which was still a crime scene. With a box of latex gloves and empty bags for evidence collection, they stationed themselves in front of the door, which was stripped of paint and had its peephole taped over.

Det. Sgt. Grinton saidMr. Yaw's forcible-confinement charge stems from the fact that the 16-year-old male who led police to the crime scene was confined in the apartment and at another undisclosed location. The man was treated for his wounds at a Toronto hospital yesterday and released.

Mr. Yaw is expected to appear in court today.