01/03/2012 02:15 EST | Updated 03/04/2012 05:12 EST

Man charged in Leaside woman's homicide

A man is in custody facing second-degree murder charges in connection with a woman who was found dead Sunday in her Toronto home.

Police are treating the case as the third homicide of 2012, and neighbours in the upscale Leaside neighbourhood said the home had been rented by 45-year-old Lisa Lebitka.

Police have not confirmed her identity.

The man facing the charges, Paul Hindle, appeared in a Toronto courtroom at 2 p.m. Neighbours said Hindle was the victim's boyfriend.

Neighbours said Lebitka lived with her boyfriend and three young children from a previous marriage, all under 11 years old.

Lebitka was an interior designer. Her goal, according to her website, was to create passionate and peaceful spaces for families.

"Lisa was always just smiling," said neighbour Masha Petrasinovic, 17. "She always had a smile on her face. She was always happy, taking care of her kids, taking them to hockey and baking them cookies and stuff."

It's unclear who found the body, but neighbours say the home at 211 Airdrie Road — near Bayview Avenue and Eglinton Avenue East — was surrounded by at least a dozen police cruisers late Sunday afternoon.

On Tuesday afternoon, there was a lone police car in front of the home, which was cordoned off with police tape.

Mark Thompson, who introduced himself as the uncle of the children of the deceased, told reporters that he wanted the media to respect the privacy of the family.

"The children are safe with their father, who is in no way implicated," he said.

Thompson thanked police and neighbours.

"This is a small community. Everybody knows each other and everybody loves each other and that's been very helpful," he said.