Mother charged in baby boy's death

Body of 18-month-old found in car at Mississauga parking lot after woman attempted suicide, police say


March 28, 2009

A mother of three was charged with first-degree murder yesterday shortly after the body of her 18-month-old son was found inside a car in an underground parking lot in Mississauga.

Peel Regional Police were called yesterday morning to the underground garage of the Mississauga Executive Centre, located across from the Square One Shopping Centre, to find the infant dead in the passenger side of the car.

The mother worked in the office building above the garage. She tried to commit suicide, police said.

Police declined to reveal how the child died or the name of the infant.

It's the region's sixth homicide of the year.

"When we do find out [the motive] it is going to be a key element to a court case, so we will not be commenting on that when we do find out what the reasoning was," police spokesman Constable Wayne Patterson said.

Nadine Bernard, 34, of Bolton, Ont., was charged with murder.

Police called it a "domestic-related homicide" but would not divulge any other details.

The accused has two other children, girls around the ages of 10 and 14, neighbours said yesterday. The children were located unharmed, police said.

The father of the infant was notified. Police declined to comment on the woman's marital status.

News reports said the woman was under investigation by the Children's Aid Society, who were about to take the deceased child.

But Peel Children's Aid and police declined comment.

"If in fact there was any investigation going on there, our homicide officers will have to investigate and speak with CAS regarding that," Constable Patterson said. "And that would all be evidence, if it exists."

The victim was found in the seat of a silver Honda CRV that was owned by his mother. The car was towed by police so that forensic tests can be conducted.

Neighbours in Bolton were shocked to learn the news of the toddler's death.

The accused lived there with her three children and her parents, who owned the two-storey brick home.

Yesterday, a police cruiser sat in front on the home.

Neighbours described the street as family-friendly. "When we moved in here, neighbours were coming to the house, saying 'I'm so-and-so from the across the street if you need anything,' " said one woman, who declined to give her name. She said the accused was among them.

"She was an amazing mother," she added. "I'm in shock. They're a part of a close-knit neighbourhood. This is inconceivable."

The woman said her child regularly played with the children of the accused. "Right now, it's really tough. I've got to go explain to my daughter why her girlfriend's brother has passed on," she said.

Many were trying to make sense of what happened, but didn't have any answers.

"We're very upset about it," said another woman, who lived next door.

With a report from

Josh Wingrove