The last phone call between Vanessa Jung and her 73-year-old father Christopher ended abruptly.
The two had been chatting on the morning of Oct. 24 when suddenly he got a call on the other line.
“What a way to end our last conversation,” she told CBC Toronto. “We never said goodbye; we never said I love you, it was just ‘hold on.'”
Less than 12 hours later, Christopher Jung, who was working as a taxi driver, was pronounced dead in hospital after being found in his cab with multiple gunshot wounds.
“Now those words take on another meaning,” says his daughter, her voice breaking. “Like, he’s telling me to ‘hold on’ because he’s not here anymore.”
Police have released few details about what happened that night. They were initially called after Jung’s cab suddenly crashed into a fence near the intersection of Pharmacy Avenue and Eglinton Avenue East just before 9 p.m.
In the days that followed, a suspect was identified: a 17-year-old who police say was a passenger in the taxi and who is now wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for second-degree murder.
“This was a particularly brutal murder, a violent murder,” said Det. Henry Marsman at a news conference this week.
“We’re eager to take him off the streets.”
‘I don’t have any closure’
Vanessa Jung has also started a GoFundMe to help pay for a memorial, which so far has raised just over half of its $10,000 goal. But she says the events of that evening remain clouded with confusion.
“I don’t have any closure, because I don’t know what happened yet,” she said.
There were the long hours after her dad had failed to turn up to give a ride to his ex-partner, during which Jung called and texted, eventually turning to Beck Taxi, where her father worked.
As the night dragged on, she tried to visit his apartment, called hospitals and filed a missing persons report. The idea that he could be the victim of violence didn’t cross her mind.
“I never thought of his job as high risk. I never thought anything like this could happen,” she said.
Jung says she’s still processing, and hasn’t fully accepted the way he died.
“The fact that this young individual, this suspect… he had access to a gun. That is probably the thing that gets me the most angry.”
Jung moved to Canada in 1973
She also finds herself turning over the pieces of her dad’s story she knows best.
Christopher Jung was born in Poland, and moved to Canada with Vanessa’s mother in their mid 20s.
“They had to learn English, they worked various jobs, and eventually they were both working full time, taking vacations. He loved travelling,” she said.
He began driving taxis in the mid-80s. Vanessa says her father was good at it and enjoyed it — especially when he could have conversations with his passengers.
In one of his most memorable stories, he wound up talking to Bob Dylan after dropping a passenger off at one of his concerts, though Vanessa said with a laugh that the details of how that came to pass are hazy.
“He told the story in bits and pieces,” she said. “I know they talked about Poland.”
More recently, Christopher Jung had recovered from hip surgery and waited out the pandemic before eagerly getting back to work this past October, hoping to save up some money and begin travelling again.
Vanessa Jung also described a much older memory from when she was a young girl, shortly after her mother died in 1987.
Her father “cried in the car, but I hugged him and told him everything was going to be okay. I think I was told she went to heaven. That sounded pretty nice to me,” she said.
Now she has a much better idea what he was going through.
“Because I’ve now lost him, I think I finally understand … how difficult it is to lose someone you love.”
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