London News & Search
It is often a final, horrible act of revenge. Or the desperate, twisted deed of a sick mind.
How could any parent kill their own child? That’s the question that echoes through the city on news Zlatan Cico, 58, this week took the life of his six-year-old son Simon Cico before killing himself in his East York apartment.
That little boy would have trusted his dad, would have expected that the father he adored would do everything in his power to protect him. Instead, that trust was violated in the most unfathomable way. Only someone so mentally ill — or so diabolically evil — could snuff the life of their own flesh and blood while taking their own.
It’s a mystery that will forever haunt Tanya Brancalion Jarosz.
“I don’t understand how people keep doing this,” she sighs.
On Sept. 8, 2012, while she was at a girlfriend’s cottage, her husband, Wojciech Kosalka, murdered their beloved six-year-old, Noah, before killing himself. The Milton couple had been going through some marital woes and Kosalka was a recovering alcoholic, but he’d never been violent or anything but a doting and loving father.
“How can hate be stronger than that kind of love?” she asks. “How dark a place do you have to be in to kill somebody you love?’
There were no clues. No signs of the deep fury he was about to unleash.
“It was really just to hurt me,” says the middle school teacher. Police found angry messages he’d scrawled all around their home telling her to enjoy the rest of her “miserable life.” He addressed his suicide note only to the cops: “Sorry for what I did, but I couldn’t leave him with her.”
Still, she can’t hate him. He was delusional; he was ill. “In a billion years, I never thought he’d hurt Noah.”
Now another six-year-old boy is dead.
“This mother — oh, my God,” says Jarosz, 38. “My heart breaks for this woman. She’s in a hell she doesn’t even know. It gets so much worse. She has no idea how bad it’s going to be.”
And Jarosz wants her to know she’s there for her if she ever wants to reach out.
For years, she suffered in a fog of pain. Her only child, her beautiful boy, suddenly gone in such a horrific way.
“I didn’t understand how there was going to be a next day. I needed people around me just to tell me how I was going to put one foot in front of the other.”
Slowly, through counselling and the support of friends, family and other women she’s met on Facebook who have endured similar tragedies, she’s learned to do just that. As the fifth anniversary of that black day approaches, Jarosz has a new life: She’s remarried and they’ve just welcomed their daughter, Mila. But as her tiny baby coos in her arms, thoughts of her lost boy are never far away.
“I’m very grateful for this little girl but it doesn’t stop the pain. They don’t replace each other.”
Jarosz has recreated her son’s bedroom as it was and every night, she goes in and kisses the urn filled with his ashes.
“No, it never goes away,” she says. “It doesn’t get better.”
‘OUR STORIES ARE JUST SO SIMILAR’
Zoey Mendoza Zimmerman belongs to a club no mother would ever want to join.
Yet, no one else could ever imagine the agony its members endured — their children killed by their own fathers. And it was Mendoza Zimmerman, a New Jersey mom who lost her two children to a murder-suicide in 2010, who helped a GTA mother hundreds of kilometres away.
“Our stories are just so similar,” says Tanya Brancalion Jarosz.
After 12 years together, Mendoza Zimmerman wanted an amicable separation from her husband Kurtis. He went into a deep depression and attempted suicide.
“It was so out of character,” she recalled.
He promised to see a therapist and take anti-depressants. She later learned he did neither.
Seven weeks later, on Oct. 18, 2010, she dropped Jada, 5, and Jordan, 3, at daycare. Her husband picked them up early and took them to his childhood home where the devoted dad shot each in the back of the head before turning the gun on himself. He left no note.
In the U.S., researchers estimate 500 kids are killed each year by one of their parents. In the GTA alone, we’ve now had at least six reported murders in the last five years.
“It feels like it’s a mental health epidemic. I don’t understand why this is happening so frequently,” says Mendoza Zimmerman, 44.
“I can empathize with a lot of people as a therapist. I will never, ever understand how Kurtis pulled the trigger and killed our babies. I will never understand. I wish there was an easy fix or solution, but there isn’t.”
She thought he was getting help. She now believes that as a man, he was too ashamed to admit he was feeling so despondent. “I think it was a spur of the moment mental break and he wanted his children with him.”
After years of heartache, guilt and therapy, the remarried Mendoza Zimmerman is determined to honour Jada and Jordan by helping others.
“I know they want me to be happy,” she says. “I don’t want to let them down the way that their dad did.”
London News & Search