Friends say 94-year-old woman was likely killed in North York van attack
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, April 25, 2018 8:19AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 25, 2018 10:52PM EDT
Friends of a 94-year-old woman who would frequently stroll on Yonge Street in her walker say they believe she was struck and killed in the North York van attack.
Two friends of Betty Forsyth say she was last seen Monday afternoon after going out for a walk.
She lived in a building just a few blocks from the street and would often go outside to feed birds and chat with her neighbours.
Forsyth’s nephew told CP24 she has been missing since Monday and he has been asked to help the coroner’s office positively identify her remains.
A placard with her image was placed at a growing memorial for victims at Olive Square, south of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue.
Earlier on Wednesday, The Toronto District School Board identified another victim as a single mother from Sri Lanka who had just finished her first day of work at a nearby high school cafeteria when she was struck and killed.
The Toronto District School Board says Renuka Amarasingha, 46, had worked in nutrition in various public schools in the city since 2015.
She had just finished her first shift at nearby Earl Haig Secondary School and was walking when she was struck.
Her family and friends tell CP24 she had a young son and one friend said the child’s father has travelled to Toronto to care for him in the wake of her death.
“We are reaching out to her loved ones to support them in any way possible,” TDSB Director of Education John Malloy said in a statement.
Earlier on Wednesday, the president of the Jordanian Canadian Society said a Jordanian citizen killed in the van attack in North York on Monday was visiting Canada with his wife and had just recently arrived to the city.
Harry Malawi, the president of the organization, confirmed Munir Abed Alnajjar was among the 10 killed when the driver of a Ryder rental van plowed down pedestrians along a 2.2-kilometre stretch of Yonge Street, near Finch Avenue, on Monday afternoon.
Malawi said Alnajjar and his wife planned to be in the country for about a month.
Alnajjar’s son, Malawi said, is a Canadian citizen who has lived in the country for many years and is the director of the Canadian Arab Orchestra.
“We strongly condemn this barbaric senseless killing of innocent lives and we stand united as Canadians in the face of tragedies and extremists,” Malawi said in a written statement released Wednesday.
Friends and family have identified three other victims in the deadly attack as Anne Marie D’Amico, Chul Min ‘Eddie’ Kang, and Dorothy Sewell.
D’Amico, who worked at investment management company Invesco, was remembered by family and friends as a dedicated volunteer and student leader who “embodied the definition of altruism.”
A friend and co-worker said Kang, who was employed at Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouse downtown, had a "passion for cooking.”
In a Facebook post, the grandson of 80-year-old Sewell described his grandmother as an avid sports fan who was the “best nan anyone could have asked for.”
Speaking to CTV News Toronto, Roula Massin, who said she provided first aid to some of the victims after stumbling upon the horrifying scene, believes she performed CPR on Sewell.
Massin said she wanted to let the elderly woman's grandchildren know that their grandmother "went in peace."
Fourteen others were injured following the attack, including Ryerson chemistry professor Amir Kiumarsi.
In a statement released Tuesday, CUPE 3904, the union representing contract staff at the university, confirmed Kiumarsi is receiving treatment in hospital following the attack.
"Amir is more than our colleague—he is our friend and union brother who is dedicated to both his Continuing Education students and to the betterment of working conditions and learning conditions at Ryerson," the statement read.
"As Amir begins his recovery from yesterday’s tragic incident, we are keeping him and his family in our thoughts and our prayers."
On Tuesday, suspect Alek Minassian appeared in court, where he was formally charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. Police said Tuesday that he will likely face an additional attempted murder charge.
Meanwhile, a memorial for the victims continues to grow at Olive Square, near the area where the victims were struck.
Community members have flooded the memorial with flowers and messages of condolences written in multiple different languages.
Mayor John Tory said Wednesday the city will be holding a vigil for the victims at Mel Lastman Square on Sunday night.