Son of murdered nanny found not criminally responsible for her death

Josie Tomajin, pictured here with some of the children she cared for as a nanny, was killed by her son in 2011. - Contributed photo
Josie Tomajin, pictured here with some of the children she cared for as a nanny, was killed by her son in 2011.
— image credit: Contributed photo

The son of a woman found stabbed to death in front of her Elwell Street home in August 2011 has been found not criminally responsible for his actions because of mental illness.

Benedict Bernabe Tomajin was charged with second degree murder in the death of his mother Josie Tomajin, who was 45 when she died.

But on Wednesday (Feb. 5) B.C. Supreme Court Justice Gregory Bowden ruled Tomajin was too sick to have known what he was doing and won't do time in jail for now.

He will be sent to Forensic Psychiatric Hospital for further assessment. Depending on the results of that assessment, he could still face a trial.

Josie Tomajin came to Canada from the Philippines in 2002 to work as a nanny as part of a federal live-in program that allowed foreigners to work in Canada for two years to establish their residency. An agency matched her with a Coquitlam family that was about to expand to five with the birth of twin sons.

Tomajin worked and lived with Craig Hodge and his partner Darla Furlani and their three young children for three years.

"She was the one that taught me how to change diapers," said Hodge, a Coquitlam city councillor who used to work as a photojournalist for Black Press. "She was the second mom to our kids."

Tomajin had three children of her own back in the Philippines, and Hodge said she burned up the long distance phone lines calling them late at night.

"She missed them so much," said Hodge.

When the residency program ended, Tomajin stayed in Canada and sought permanent employment. Hodge, who stayed in touch with his former nanny, said she regularly worked at least two jobs.

She also started the bureaucratic process to bring her family to Canada. That took four years and a toll on her marriage, which ended.

Hodge said Tomajin had found a new partner who helped her reunite her family.

"She was on her way to putting her life together for herself and for her family," said Hodge.

-with files from Grant Granger

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