Above and Beyond to Save Lives

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 11:53 a.m. March 21, 2018

Summoned to Union Station on February 1, 2017 to investigate a person in crisis, Constable David Goodenough and partner Constable Hector MacDonald sensed this wasn’t an ordinary call.

Four men in TPS uniform with two other men on a staircase
City Councillor Chin Lee, Mayor John Tory with Constables David Goodenough, Hector MacDonald and Narinder Luthra and Chief Mark Saunders

The woman told the officers she was aware of a terrorist plot to blow up Union Station and that she was acting in an undercover capacity as a secret agent of the United States government.

“When we got there, she was very eloquent, polite, well-put-together and wearing high-end clothes, but they were all dirty,” said Goodenough. “There was no record of her in any police database when we checked. Nothing made sense so I just kept chipping away.”

The officers were ultimately able to garner enough information to contact a family member.

“My partner calls and the woman he gets on the other end of the line says it’s her daughter that we have,” said Goodeneough. “When she asked where she was, we said ‘Toronto’ and she told us she was in Chicago and her daughter was missing for the last three weeks. When we told her about the irrational statements her daughter was making, she let us know that something was wrong because this woman was very educated and had travelled the world. She said something is not right because that’s not the way she behaves.”

With the third-party explanation, the officer apprehended her under the Mental Health Act and took her to the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health (CAMH) for assessment.

“Her mom said she was fine with that and she was going to jump in her car and come to Toronto,” said Goodenough. “After the doctors at CAMH started to run some tests, we saw them scrambling and making phone calls.”

It turns out that the woman, who drove from Chicago to Toronto, had a brain tumour that might have triggered her irrational behaviour.

She was rushed to hospital.

Back at the station, and recounting the incident to his Staff Sergeant, Constable Narinder Luthra, in an adjoining room, heard Goodenough mention something about a missing suitcase.

When Goodenough and his partner encountered her at Union Station, she didn’t have any luggage.

She had left her two suitcases at a building near Union Station and the security handed them over to the police.

“Sure enough, when we open the two suitcases, her possessions, including her ID, were in them and we were able to take them to the hospital where her mother was with her,” added Goodenough. “I have been with the Service for 19 years and this is the most unusual call I have been on.”

Goodenough, MacDonald and Luthra were recipients of Team Commendation Awards at police headquarters on March 20.

Last summer, police found an 83-year-old man who was missing for five days.

Officers from 12 Division located Domingos Martins near Weston Rd. and the 401.

Superintendent Ronald Taverner, Staff Sergeants Leslie Hildred and Scott Bradbury, Detective Jeffrey Correia and Constables Daniel Sullivan, Wesley Green, Cambria McKay, Brandon Mak and Jason Bellamy of 12 Division were honoured with Teamwork Commendations.

“I am so proud of our officers because they didn’t give up,” said Taverner. “To find this man alive, after five days in the gruelling heat, is amazing.”

Martins’ son, Carlos, attended the event.

“I had to come here to thank the officers who were involved in the search,” he said. “My dad has his good days and bad days, but he’s doing well.”

Chief Mark Saunders thanked all the officers being honoured for going above and beyond the call of duty.

“This is a night of celebration,” he added.

Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) vice-chair Chin Lee said the recipients’ dedication and heroism make Toronto a better place to live, work and play.

“These special people deserve our praise and admiration for the selfless acts of bravery and excellence in performance of their work,” he said. “For our Board, it is important to recognize individuals whose dedication and heroism make our city a better and safer place.”

Mayor John Tory, who sits on the TPSB, also praised the officers and civilians.

“These stories of things that really happen don’t get half enough attention,” he said. “In a job that’s undoubtedly very complicated and sometimes controversial, they get less attention than some other things. That is why it is so important to have events like this, where people can be honoured in front of their peers and their families for exceptional service.”

In addition to the individual and teamwork commendations, a Letter of Recognition was presented to 55 Division Mobile Crisis Intervention Team nurse Avraham Unger.

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