Home World Canada Girls who went missing in Ontario: Solved and unsolved cases

Girls who went missing in Ontario: Solved and unsolved cases

There can be no grief like it, the loss of a child, the loss of a child to murder, murder at the hands of a person known to victim and family.

It is depravity impossible to fathom, a violation of the natural order of things. It brings a mountain of pain, a monstrous sense of betrayal and a guilt that never goes away.

For the family of Christine Jessop, the arc of their last four decades has been heart-shredding beyond all understanding. And this week’s identification of Christine’s killer, 36 years after the fact, cannot set things right nor be dealt with in privacy.

Murder is no private event. It wounds a community. The loss of an innocent to evil defies our ability to make sense of things. We can’t because everything about such acts is senseless and wrong.

At the funerals of little lives stolen, what’s striking is the scale of things – the enormity of the hurt, the tinyness of the details.

The littleness of miniature caskets. The youth of the mourners – friends from the neighbourhood, from clubs, teams, scouts or guides.

The stuffed toys left in consolation. The messages inscribed in child’s hand.

In the eulogies and reminiscences, there will be celebration not of large accomplishment, but of children’s things – favourite movies, or pets, or books, boy bands, hockey teams.

And there is always, in the days and months afterwards, through all the proceedings of trials or inquests, a silent scream of occasions stolen.

Grade-school graduations. First communions. The First dates and kisses. The drop-off at university. Marriage, new generations – life in all its tiring and triumphant ordinariness.

For the families, the hauntings come steadily through the calendar – every birthday, Christmas, mother’s and father’s day, each time the anniversary of the horror rolls round.

It is a grief so enormous that, for a time, it washes away differences, unites communities in a shared sorrow, no lines of generation, class, race, religion observed.

Instead, we try in our inadequate way to comfort those who are beyond consolation, explain the inexplicable to ourselves.

Too often it takes such extremes of human depravity to soften our hearts, open our eyes to what’s important in life, to what we can control and what we can’t.

We recognize our vulnerability, the capacity of the world to break us.

One priest, giving a homily at a little girl’s funeral, it could have been at any number of such sorrowful rites around Greater Toronto over the last 30 years for they are much the same, said the hearts touched by her loss had come to a deeper awareness of the precious treasure of each child.

“In her parents’ eyes she was an angel.”

And so she will ever be.

Here’s a look back at local cases, including Jessop’s, that have torn families and communities apart over the last several decades.


Christine Jessop, Queensville, Ont.: Jessop, 9, was abducted from her home on Oct. 3 1984.

She was returning from buying gum at a convenience store when she was kidnapped.

On New Years Eve 1984, Jessop’s partially clothed body was found, 50 kilometres away, in a wooded area. Police reported she had been raped and tortured.

Guy Paul Morin was wrongfully convicted for her murder and spent 18 months in prison.

Recently, Calvin Hoover, a neighbour of the Jessop family, was identified as the murderer, through advanced DNA testing.

Hoover died in 2015. He was 28 when he murdered Jessop.

, Daily Echoed

Trina Campbell, Brampton, Ont.: Campbell was 12 when she went missing on Dec. 11 1987.

That morning, the young girl, who attended Streetsville Dolphin’s Senior Public School, boarded a school bus bound for Brampton.

She was seen exiting the bus at 4 p.m that day, but never returned to the Children’s Aid Society group home where she was staying.

From Saskatoon, Campbell and her two brothers, had been taken into care by child welfare workers after their parents split and their mother died.

After a five-month cross-Canada investigation into her disappearance, police stopped a car on Hwy. 10 in Brampton. They found the decomposed head of a young girl, sitting in a gym bag in the backseat.

Dental records revealed that the skull belonged to Campbell, however her cause of her death was not clear.

Robert Douglas Worth, 38, was charged in May 1988 for murdering and raping Campbell. His wife Kelly was charged as an accessory after the fact.

Worth confessed he had grabbed Campbell at a local supermarket and taken her to a Brampton ravine where he raped her and beat her to death. Worth confessed to visiting her frozen corpse before cutting her body up in March 1988.

Remains of her body were found in foliage, scattered in a field near Orangeville, shortly after the couple was arrested.

, Daily Echoed

Alison Parrott, Toronto: Alison Parrott, 11, went missing from her home on July 25, 1986.

Parrott went to Varsity Stadium for what she thought was a photo shoot.

Her naked body was found two days later near the banks of the Humber River.

Francis Carl Roy was questioned by police, but not charged.

In 1996, detectives re-opened the investigation into Parrott’s murder, and, through a DNA test, matched the saliva from one of Roy’s cigarettes found at a bar, to the semen found on Alison’s body.

He was arrested on July 31, 1996. Roy, 41, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the rape and strangulation of Parrott.



He will soon be eligible for parole.

, Daily Echoed

Andrea Atkinson, Toronto: Atkinson was just six-years-old when she left her apartment on the morning of Oct. 14 1990, in search of a playmate.

Nine days later, her body was found in a boiler room on the sixth floor of the apartment building, after a janitor came across her colourful coat under one of the tanks, and a stack of New Kids on the Block trading cards scattered around her head.

Through DNA testing, investigators matched semen found on Andrea’s leotards to a blood smear outside the boiler room to identify her killer.

On Dec. 3, 1990, John Carlos Terceira, another janitor in the building, was arrested.

He was found guilty of the first-degree murder and rape of Atkinson, and sentenced to life in prison

, Daily Echoed

Kayla Klaudusz, Toronto: On July 10, 1991, three-year-old Kayla Klaudusz went missing from the playground behind her apartment where she lived in Toronto’s west-end.

David Wayne Snowdon, who lived in an apartment underneath Klaudusz, lured her to his bedroom while she was walking up the outside stairs to her apartment.

Snowdon was found guilty of first-degree murder and rape, after investigators found dried pieces of Klaudusz’s blood on furniture in Snowdon’s apartment, which he shared with her babysitter.

, Daily Echoed

Leslie Mahaffy, Burlington, Ont., and Kirsten French, St. Catherines, Ont.: Mahaffy, 14, and French, 15, were kidnapped, raped and murdered by Canadian serial killer Paul Bernardo in 1991 and 1992, respectively.

Bernardo was aided in his crimes by his girlfriend Karla Homolka.

On June 15, 1991, Mahaffy was raped and strangled to death, the abuse recorded on video camera.

In April 1992, French was abducted, held for two days and raped repeatedly, the rapes recorded on video.

Three days after she was kidnapped, her body was dumped on the side of a road near Burlington.

In 1993, Homolka made a deal with the courts to receive a 12-year sentence in exchange for testimony against Bernardo.

Bernardo was convicted of both murders and the rapes.


, Daily Echoed

Sharmini Anandavel, Toronto: Anandavel, 15, left her Scarborough apartment on the morning of June 12, 1999 and was never seen again.

Witnesses say that she walked to Fairview Mall, a short distance away from her home, and then to a nearby plaza with the intention of starting an office job.

Police later learned the job never existed.

Several months later, in October 1999, hikers found the remains of a human skull at Don East Parklands Ravine and police determined it was Anandavel’s through dental records.

Anandavel’s death has not been solved.

, Daily Echoed

Nicole Morin, Etobicoke, Ont.: Morin, 8, was last seen on July 30, 1985, when she vanished from her family’s condo while on her way to meet a playmate.

She was last seen wearing a red-striped bathing suit.

Police have not found any of her remains, nor do they have any suspects in her disappearance.

In 2007, Morin’s mother died.

In 2014, 40 OPP officers led a search through a wooded area near Barrie, following up on a tip originally recieved in 1985, but found nothing.

, Daily Echoed

Sharin’ Morningstar Keenan, Toronto: Keenan, a fourth-grader, who attended Jesse Ketchum Public School in Toronto, was last seen alive on Jan. 23, 1983.

Keenan spent the day with her mother and was last seen playing at Jean Sibelius Park in the Annex area.

Keenan, who was wearing a watch, was told to be home by 4 p.m.

Nine days later, on Feb. 1, her body was found stuffed in a refrigerator in a house rented by Dennis Melvyn Howe. She had been raped and strangled.

Howe has not been found..

, Daily Echoed

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