- Edward Lake, 49, was found dead on June 20, seven years after his three children were killed after a drunk driver slammed into their grandparents car
- The drunk driver, Marco Muzzo, is the heir to a billion dollar construction empire and served just four years before being released on parole
- At the time of his sentencing, Edward told the court that he suffered with suicidal thoughts following the deaths of his children
- On Father’s Day, Lake’s wife, Jennifer Neville-Lake posted a photo of her children’s tombstones and said: ‘Father’s day. This shouldn’t be real. It can’t be’
- Before her husband’s suicide, she told a parole board hearing for Muzzo that she had attempted to take her own life in the wake of the crash
A Toronto man took his own life more than a year after the man who killed his three young children was granted full parole after serving just four years behind bars.
Edward Lake’s three children, ages Daniel, 9, Harry, 5 and Milly, 2, were killed by drunk driver Marco Muzzo, now 35, in September 2015.
Daniel died at the scene while Harry and Milly died together in a local children’s hospital shortly afterward after being declared brain dead.
At the time he told the media: ‘We close our eyes and they’re all we see. This is a nightmare that will never go away.’ During Marco Muzzo’s sentencing, Edward reiterated his suffering with suicidal thoughts and said to Muzzo: ‘Because of you, we now live with this horror the rest of our lives.’
Edward was found dead on Monday, June 20. He was 49 years old.
Also killed in the horrific crash that claimed the lives of his children were his father-in-law and the children’s grandfather, Gary Neville, 65, his wife. The children’s grandmother, Neriza Neville, and great-grandmother, Joseina Frias, suffered severe injuries in the crash but survived.
Neriza Neville was driving the car.
Marco Muzzo had just returned via private jet from his bachelor party in Miami when he ran a stop sign in his Jeep Cherokee and t-boned the Lake family’s minivan. He slammed into the driver’s side at a speed of over 50 miles per hour.
Muzzo said that he had three-to-four drinks on the plane. His blood-alcohol level was nearly three times over the legal limit.
Edward’s death was confirmed by his wife of 16 years, Jennifer Neville-Lake, who wrote on Facebook: ‘My children’s father, Edward Lake, has joined our kids so they can play together, forever. Mahal kita, Edward.’
‘Mahal kita’ means ‘I love you’ in Filipino.
She later told a parole hearing that she had attempted suicide around the time that her childrens’ life support was turned off, and that she had miscarried a pregnancy at the same time.
Edward Lake pictured with his wife Jennifer Neville-Lake and their three children, ages Daniel, 9, Harry, 5 and Milly, 2
The children’s grandfather, Gary Neville, was also killed in the crash
Jennifer also wrote in the post about her husband’s death: ‘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.’
In a tweet, York Regional Police Chief Jim MacSween wrote: ‘This evening, I was very saddened to learn of the tragic death of Ed Lake. The losses to the Neville-Lake family are heart wrenching.’
MacSween reiterated the community’s support for the family in his message.
In a separate post just prior to Edward’s death, Jennifer posted on June 19: ‘Father’s day 2022. This shouldn’t be real. It can’t be.’ Her words were accompanied by a photo of her children’s tombstone.
He pleaded guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two of impaired driving causing bodily harm.
At the time it was the harshest sentence handed down to a first time offender for drunk driving.
Muzzo had a previous conviction for public intoxication and multiple speeding offenses, reports the Toronto Star.
In May 2020, he was granted day release. The parole board extended that release in November 2020 and ordered that a meeting be heard discuss full parole.
During his parole, Muzzo had to abstain from alcohol and live in a halfway house. At hearing, the suspect said that he intended to never drink again.
At the time of his parole extension in November 2020, Jennifer wrote on Facebook that she was not surprised as she had ‘come to expect little from the justice system overall.’
She added: ‘As the man who destroyed my family gets closer to joining his, I face a holiday season that I no longer celebrate.’
In February 2021, he was granted full parole. His full release occurred on June 18, 2022. Muzzo’s sentence expires in July 2025.
Jennifer wrote on Facebook on that day: ‘My multiple life sentences will never end.’
At the parole hearing, Jennifer spoke of her own suicide attempts and said that she was pregnant at the time of the crash and miscarried around the time that her children were removed from life support.
According to Canadian law, criminals are eligible for full parole after they have served one-third of their sentence. Inmates are forced to serve six months of day parole before the are eligible for full parole.
At the first time of asking, Muzzo was denied day parole in November 2018 after the board decreed that he did not understand ‘the issue of impairment.’
Muzzo is the heir to a billion-dollar family construction business. Shortly after Edward’s suicide, a petition was launched to have the Muzzo name removed from two Toronto-area hospitals that received donations from his family.
Both Mackenzie Health and the Sickkids Hospital told CTV News that they have no plans to remove the name.
The Sickkids Foundation donation came in 2006 while the Mackenzie Health donation came in 2017, after the crash that killed Edward Lake’s children.
The Sickkids Hospital is where Harry and Milly Lake were pronounced dead.
Muzzo said in a statement through his lawyer in 2020: ‘I was careless and irresponsible when I made the choice to drink and drive. There is no way that I can undo the damage that I have caused. I will live with this for the rest of my life.’
During his sentencing hearing in 2016, Jennifer said in part: ‘I don’t have anyone left to call me mom. You killed all my babies. I miss my kids. I miss my dad. I want my old life. back.’
At that time, Edward said that he had been suffering from suicidal thoughts. He said: ‘I feel lost. I feel destroyed. That’s what I feel.’
During a 2019 interview on NBC’s Today program, Jennifer said that she missed her life as a mother ‘to living children.’
In that same interview, Jennifer recalled her eldest son as being a ‘proud ballet dancer and member of Scouts Canada.’ She said that her son dreamed of writing a cookbook.
Her middle child, Harry, suffered with health issues after having both of his hands amputated. Despite this, his mother described him as being ‘happy-go-lucky’ and that ‘loved animals and especially bugs and worms. He would cradle them in his hands and giggle at them, telling them jokes, she said.’
She also said that her youngest, Milly, loved being twirled around by her father. Jennifer added: ‘If Milly gave you her hand to hold then you just knew you were in her inner circle and that would be followed up by a hug and kiss from her.’
In response to her children’s tragic deaths, Jennifer opened the Many Hands, Doing Good non-profit in 2018. It provides therapy through art and music.
In 2022, Jennifer also threw her support behind a parliamentary review of Canada’s National Victim’s Bill of Rights which was criticized as being ‘sporadic and inconsistent’ in helping families recover information, provide protection and rights to restitution in cases such as hers, reports the Toronto Star.