February 13th, 2018
An elderly woman is Ottawa's sixth murder of the year. Police say 81-year-old Maria Desousa was already dead when she was taken to the hospital over the weekend. Now police have charged two people with first degree murder; one of them, the victim’s son. It's not clear when Maria DeSousa died or even how. But police are convinced she was already dead when someone brought her to an east end hospital Saturday afternoon. A police car remains outside a home on Parkrose Private where police say 81-year-old Maria Desousa was murdered. Late this afternoon, they laid first degree murder charges against two people: 40-year-old Paolo Desousa who police confirm is the victim's son and 36-year-old Danielle Leblanc. Neighbours say police cars have been here all weekend long though they had no idea why until now. “The first night, I thought maybe it was a domestic dispute,” says one woman, “but after seeing them here for 3 or 4 days, it was pretty worrisome.” “I was shocked,” says David Gionet, “pretty shocking actually.” Gionet lives right next door and says he didn't know his neighbour at all; a man in his 40's he thinks. And adds that he had certainly had never seen an elderly woman there. Police say that's because 81-year-old Maria Desousa didn't actually live at the townhouse on Parkrose Private. She was from Kingston, police say and was visiting a family member.” Police say they had been called Saturday afternoon around 3:30 to an Ottawa hospital for a suspicious death. Staff at the hospital had attended to a woman who had been brought in already dead. Constable Chuck Benoit is with Ottawa Police, “The coroner is involved to give us his expertise in the exactitude of how she died,” Benoit says, “he will be able to give us a time frame and a reason.” All weekend, police were canvassing the townhome complex in Orleans and knocking on neighbour's doors. “Just asking if I knew the guy,” Gionet says, “if I heard any noise in the last few days, bangs and things like that, but I heard nothing.” “I don't even remember seeing this person,” says another neighbor, “I know a few neighbors here but this person I couldn’t even tell you who he was.” An autopsy will help determine how and when she died. The why will take a while longer.