Police in Australia are trying to piece together why a former Ottawa resident and his two-year-old son plunged off a bridge early Monday morning in an apparent murder-suicide.
Jason Lees, 40, who attended high school and university in Ottawa, was a popular teacher and coach at Anglican Church Grammar School in Brisbane, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Shift worker Craig Cooper witnessed the deadly plunge as he sat on his apartment balcony, which overlooks Story Bridge and Captain Burke Park in Brisbane.
It was about 3:20 a.m. when Mr. Cooper heard the toddler’s voice.
“I just heard this scream. It was blood-curdling,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald. “I caught a glimpse of a falling thing. It was tiny.”
A few seconds later, Mr. Cooper saw a man jump.
“It was unmistakable this time that it was a body,” he said.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh called the incident a “heart-breaking tragedy,” The Australian reported. Mr. Lees was believed to have recently separated from his wife.
Jonathan Hensman, headmaster at the school where Mr. Lees had taught since 2007, said he was a standout teacher.
“Churchie (the school) is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of one of its prep school teachers,” Mr. Hensman told The Australian. “Mr. Jason Lees was a highly regarded and much-loved teacher whose kindness to his students, his gentlemanly approach and enthusiasm for teaching were appreciated by students, parents and his colleagues.”
Regional crime co-ordinator Michael Niland said close relatives of the boy and his father were turning to each other for comfort. Police found Mr. Lees’ bicycle at the bridge. Two bodies were found in the park below.
“It’s a terrible family tragedy and the family are very, very upset,” Mr. Niland told The Australian.