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Police stand at a crime scene in front of a house where three pople died in an incident involving a crossbow in the Scarborough suburb of Toronto on August 25, 2016. (MARK BLINCH/REUTERS)
Police stand at a crime scene in front of a house where three pople died in an incident involving a crossbow in the Scarborough suburb of Toronto on August 25, 2016. (MARK BLINCH/REUTERS)

Woman in Toronto crossbow attack died by strangulation, police say Add to ...

As investigators continue to pore over two crime scenes in Toronto connected to a triple homicide involving a crossbow last week, the lead detective on the case revealed that each of the victims died by different means.

Detective Sergeant Mike Carbone gave brief summaries of each death during a Monday afternoon appeal for public assistance with the unusual case.

“This investigation is very unusual,” he said. “We’re still seeking and speaking to other witnesses.”

While he would not disclose the names of the three victims due to a court-ordered publication ban, he said that one woman died by ligature strangulation in a garage situated near the bungalow owned and occupied by the Ryan family.

A deceased male was also found in the garage. He died by a crossbow bolt stab to the neck. The third victim, also male, died in the driveway of a single arrowhead stab wound to the neck.

Det. Sgt. Carbone added that each of the men was killed by different projectiles.

The term “bolt” refers to the entire body – head, shaft and tail – of a projectile fired from a crossbow. Many arrowheads can be unscrewed from the shaft.

Police discovered the three bodies at about 1 p.m. last Thursday as they responded to a reported stabbing at 10 Lawndale Road, near Eglinton Avenue East and Markham Road.

The officers arrested Brett Ryan, 35, at the scene. Both he and a witness to the killings had to be treated at hospital for unspecified injuries. Mr. Ryan now faces three counts of first-degree murder.

The grim sequence of events that day took another strange twist at about 2:30 p.m., when the Toronto police chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear response team rushed to a downtown Queens Quay apartment associated with Mr. Ryan for a suspicious package.

Det. Sgt. Carbone was cryptic regarding the contents of the apartment.

“I will not get into the specifics as to what was located in there. There were certain items in the dwelling,” he said. “However, at this point I can say there was no danger to any members of the public. It certainly now makes up part of this investigation.”

Forensics investigators continue to sift through the two scenes as well as surveillance video. They believe they have “sufficient and significant evidence” to prove the charges against Mr. Ryan, according to Det. Sgt. Carbone, but are still trying to piece together a motive.

“That’s our role right now, to try and find out what set this off,” he said.

Police are asking anyone who may have seen or spoken with Mr. Ryan on the morning of the slayings to call the Toronto police homicide squad or Crime Stoppers.

“We certainly would like to speak to any of his co-workers,” Det. Sgt. Carbone said. “We understand he may have attended a local university and if anyone had ever had any contact with this individual, I would respectfully request that they contact us.”

Mr. Ryan is scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

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