News / Toronto

Fundraiser launched for burial costs of 6-year-old murder-suicide victim

Family hopes to put gentle, well-behaved Simon Cico to rest.

Simon Cico turned six last month.

family photo

Simon Cico turned six last month.

At first glance, there are the visible signs marking the presence of a happy kid. A large height-marker with a cartoon giraffe plastered on a wall. Fourth, fifth and sixth birthday cards mounted side-by-side. Dozens of photographs of a young boy’s many silly faces, everywhere you look.

Then there are the signs of loss you’d have to be looking for to notice. A bicycle with the training wheels still on. The pristine white floor that he used as his dry-erase-marker canvas. His most prized possessions — two paper models of TTC vehicles and a stack of identical transit route maps — packed in a plastic grocery bag.

Everything about this simple, clean home points to the presence of an adored kid who should have grown many inches taller, celebrated many more birthdays and lived to express awe at the TTC subway.

Simon, a healthy six-year-old boy, was taken from his mother when he died in an apparent murder-suicide on July 31.

Simon and his father, Zlatan Cico, 58, were pronounced dead in Cico’s East York apartment last month. Though Simon’s parents were separated and he lived with his mom full time, he sometimes stayed with his father on weekends.

Police said the day after they were found that they were not looking for any other suspects in the case. Neighbours who knew the father and son were shocked by the event.

Simon’s mom, whose name Torstar News Service agreed not to publish to protect her privacy, dedicated every year of Simon’s too-short life to giving him every opportunity she could. Now she, with the support of her friend Glenn Watson, is trying to raise money to lay him to rest in a nice place.

The pair recently launched a campaign on GoFundMe with the goal of raising $20,000 that they say will go to Simon’s burial costs. As of Thursday afternoon, they have reached about 15 per cent of their goal.

 “I just feel he is so innocent. I couldn’t protect him,” Simon’s mom told Torstar in an interview this week at her dining table in the Scarborough home she shared with her son, while Watson sat beside her.

“So I want to try my best to give him a nice place to rest.”

Simon was his mom’s only family in Canada, and Watson described her devotion to the boy as absolute.

“Everything is for Simon,” Watson said. “And, as she says, it was hard to protect him from a threat that you wouldn’t think he needed protecting from.”

They want Simon to be remembered as the boy they knew: curious, sweet, and well-behaved.

His favourite thing in the world was the TTC.

“Every kid in his classroom, they all know Simon loves the subway, loves the TTC,” Simon’s mom said. He would pick up a new subway map whenever he could — no matter how many he already had — and used the floor in their living room to draw out the routes with dry-erase markers.

“Sometimes I tolerate and I let him do it, and sometimes I just mop that,” she said.

Simon’s memory for transit routes surprised even bus drivers, as he effortlessly rhymed off where each route was headed. His collection of route maps and paper TTC models will go with him in his coffin.

Simon’s mom described him as an exceptionally gentle, well-behaved kid.

“My friend had a little baby and the baby was five months, six months. Simon just like, touched the baby gently, looked at the baby,” she said.

Even when she asked him to do something he didn’t want to do, he’d agree without protest.

“Not like some children, who would say ‘no, I don’t want to do that.’ He just listened — he just understood.”

She believes that we can learn from Simon’s simple, happy nature.

“He’s happy easily,” she said. “Something — even just some small thing — can make him very happy. He’s not greedy.”

He also came up with the code word ‘toy’ to ask Glenn to take him for ice cream — a treat his mom seldom allowed. She was undeceived.

A meal from McDonald’s or a covert cup of ice cream was enough to put a huge smile on Simon’s face. The thought led the mom to think about life’s joys — large and small — that she wasn’t yet able to give Simon.

Top of the list was a long-anticipated trip to China, scheduled for next month. He began to ask his mom to take him when his other Chinese friends told him stories about travelling there.

“I said if you go to China, they have long trains — much faster much nicer,” Simon’s mom said. She and Simon would have made the long journey together, and visited her family for the first time since he was a baby.

His ticket will go unused, and now she just hopes to be able to bury him somewhere close enough to her home to visit on birthdays and holidays.

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