In the weeks before their daughter was struck and killed by an unmarked police vehicle, Sonia and Guillermo Abogado were helping her plan her future.
Now they are planning her funeral.
“Right now, we are grieving,” said a distraught Sonia Abogado. “It’s really hard . . . Emotional support is what I need right now.”
Natasha Carla Abogado, 18, who often went by Carla, died when she was struck by an unmarked York Regional Police vehicle on Wednesday. The officer was on duty at the time.
The collision occurred shortly after 8 p.m. on St. Clair Ave. E. near Warden Ave. after the teen got off a bus and was crossing the street on her way home from work.
“At 8 p.m. she was supposed to be home,” Sonia Abogado said. “We kept calling her, but no one was answering the phone.”
Finally, Guillermo Abogado went out to search for his daughter. He came upon the horrific accident scene and asked an officer if the girl who had been hit was named Carla.
“At that moment he never answered . . . I realized, oh, that’s my daughter,” he said, his voice cracking with emotion.
Police informed the family that evening about their daughter’s death. It wasn’t until 3 a.m. the next day, when the Special Investigations Unit knocked on the door, that they learned Carla had been hit by a police vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The SIU has assigned seven investigators, two forensic experts and one collision reconstructionist to the case. The provincial police watchdog investigates incidents involving police where there has been a death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.
The Abogados, who came to Canada from the Philippines in 2003, are now trying to comprehend the tragedy.
“We’re against a police department so we don’t know what to do,” Guillermo Abogado said. He asked anyone who witnessed the incident “to come forward and tell the truth about what happened.”
The Abogados described their eldest daughter as polite, responsible and very religious, saying Carla reminded their other children Carl, 14, and Paula, 13, about why they should go to church on days when they did not want to go.
“I loved my daughter very much,” Guillermo Abogado said. “She is a different kind of young girl. She loved kids. At parties, the little kids would come to her and she would always gather the kids and play with them. Then the big kids would go play with them too.”
Carla’s sister Paula said the two were very close.
“We’d tell each other everything,” said Paula. “She’s always been there for me.”
Family and friends said Carla loved art and playing the violin. Her sister recalled trying to play a duet on the piano with Carla.
Carla graduated from high school in 2013. She took a year off to work and had been struggling to decide between fashion design, architecture and nursing before applying to university nursing programs this year.
Though her best friend Aubrey Ilagan said art was Carla’s passion, “she always really wanted to make her parents proud.”
Carla and Aubrey volunteered at nursing homes together and were hoping to take some nursing classes together as well.
“I can’t believe that’s she’s gone,” said Aubrey. “It was so unexpected.”
The Abogados said Carla had a charm about her that left an impression on people. Relatives in the Philippines, who the family went back to visit just last year, cried when they heard the news.
“My relatives that knew my daughter, they cried ‘why did this happen’?”
With files from Paul Clarke and Sahar Fatima