In the days after his three children were killed by a drunk driver, Edward Lake seemed to know his pain would never leave him. “We close our eyes and they’re all we see,” he told reporters. “This is a nightmare that will never go away.”
On Monday, seven years after the loss of his children, Lake was found dead. He died by suicide, yorkregion.com has learned. His death came a day after Father’s Day, when his wife Jennifer Neville-Lake shared a grief-stricken post on Twitter with a picture of their children’s graves.
“Father’s Day 2022. This shouldn’t be real. It can’t be,” the tweet read.
In September 2015, the Neville-Lake children were killed while returning home to Brampton from King City, where Neville-Lake’s parents had been hosting their grandchildren: Daniel, 9, Harry, 5, and Millie, 2.
Gary Neville, Jennifer’s father, was also killed in the crash, and her mother and grandmother were badly injured.
Late Monday evening, Neville-Lake posted a message on social media.
“The eyes he shared with Harry are forever closed Daniel’s curls will never shine in the sunlight again I will never see Milly’s shy smile creep across his lips anymore. My children’s father, Edward Lake, has joined our kids so they can play together, forever. Mahal kita, Edward,” she tweeted.
The tragedy garnered nationwide media attention and Muzzo was eventually sentenced to ten years in jail — the harshest sentence for a first-time offender in a drunk driving case. He was granted full parole in 2021.
During Muzzo’s parole hearing, Neville-Lake told the Parole Board of Canada that she lived in fear of coming into contact with the man who killed her children and asked that he serve his parole outside the province. She reminded the board that she miscarried the day that two of her children were removed from life support, and had made suicide attempts. Lake had also previously described having suicidal thoughts while reading his victim impact statement at Muzzo’s 2016 sentencing hearing.
York Regional Police Chief Jim MacSween acknowledged the family’s loss on Twitter Monday night.
“This evening I was very saddened to learn of the tragic death of Ed Lake,” he wrote on Twitter. “The losses to the Neville-Lake family are heart wrenching. YRP stands with our friend Jennifer and members of both families. May you find strength in the support of your community.”
The grief of losing a child to a drunk driving incident is something that families never get over, said Carolyn Swinson, director of victim support with the Toronto chapter of MADD Canada.
Swinson said she’s supported dozens of families who’ve lost loved ones to impaired driving and “several” have suffered the additional tragedy of losing a loved one to suicide in the aftermath.
Swinson, who has met Lake and Neville-Lake but doesn’t know them well, said she felt “overwhelmingly sad” when she learned of Lake’s passing on Monday, just one day after Father’s Day. Her own son died in a drunk driving crash and she understands the pain of having to relive the loss on every anniversary, birthday and special occasion.
“You should be celebrating with your children,” she said. “And they’re not there.”
If you are thinking of suicide or know someone who is, there is help. Resources are available online at crisisservicescanada.ca or you can connect to the national suicide prevention helpline at 1-833-456-4566, or the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.
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Edward Lake, father of 3 children killed in crash by impaired driver Marco Muzzo, dies by suicide