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Second-degree murder charge laid in connection with Toronto woman's death

Lisa Lebitka shown in a photo from her web site.

Police are still having trouble confirming how a Leaside woman died, even as they charged a man they believe was her boyfriend with second-degree murder on Tuesday.

Lisa Lebitka was found dead in her home on Airdrie Road, near Bayview Avenue and Eglinton Avenue East, on New Year's Day. Police said they discovered her body when they visited the house after receiving a report about a missing person.

There was no indication on Tuesday whether an autopsy had been completed, but police sources familiar with the investigation said it was complicated by the state of the body, which had begun to decompose.

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Ms. Lebitka was an interior decorator in her forties who ran a company called Lisa Lebitka Interiors, according to her LinkedIn profile. The online profile indicates she graduated from York University with a degree in political theory and studied interior design at the Art Institute of Toronto. She listed her children, reading, art galleries and exhibits and travel as her main interests.

The children's uncle, Mark Thompson, said they are all under the age of 12. "The children are safe with their father, who is in no way implicated," he told reporters on Tuesday. Ms. Lebitka's children are from a previous relationship.

Mr. Thompson requested that the media respect the family's privacy. "The children are, as you can expect, they're in shock, they're with their families who love them and they're doing the best they can."

Paul Hindle, who police sources say was Ms. Lebitka's boyfriend, appeared briefly in court, but his case was put over until later this month.

Mr. Hindle, who is also in his forties, had been listed as a consultant with the Toronto head-hunting agency wwwork!com, but the link to his profile has been removed. A cached version of the site says he worked in the recruitment field for 20 years, holding positions in sales, marketing and customer services.

He did not have a police record prior to his arrest, police sources said.

A charge of second-degree murder indicates police do not believe the murder was premeditated.

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On Tuesday evening, the house was roped off with yellow police tape, framing the still-lit Christmas decorations and lights.

"It's pretty shocking," said Susan York, who lives several houses down the street. "We're a pretty nice, quiet neighbourhood. You don't expect that anywhere, but especially not here."

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Kim Mackrael has been a reporter for The Globe and Mail since 2011. She joined the Ottawa bureau Sept. 2012. More

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