COUPLE CHARGED IN COLD CASE MURDER
In 2017, Ms. Page represented the step-mother of a teenage girl, whose body was found burning in a suitcase in 1994. The father of the girl has also been charged with first-degree murder.
MURDER SUSPECTS FREED ON BAIL
By: Sam Pazzano
First Posted: Friday, November 02, 2012 04:49 PM EDT
Source: Toronto Sun
» PDF of Toronto Sun Article: MURDER SUSPECTS…
TORONTO – A woman accused of murdering her teenaged stepdaughter, whose charred remains were found almost two decades ago, has been freed on a $1,000 bail, the Sun has learned.
Elaine Biddersingh, 51, was freed on Wednesday from Superior Court of Justice. She is facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of Melonie Biddersingh, 17, who came from Jamaica to Canada in 1991 to join her father Everton Biddersingh.
Melonie, her older half-brother Cleon, 40, – who was arrested earlier this year in Alberta and is now charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, aggravated assault, forcible confinement and indignity to a body – and younger brother Dwayne joined her father Everton and wife Elaine, settling in a Parkdale high-rise in’90.
Elaine Biddersingh, who has three adult children by Everton, is now living with her older sister in the Greater Toronto Area. Elaine married Everton in ‘79 while she was 18 and after the high school dropout had only known him for a couple of weeks.
Elaine will be back in court on Nov. 30.
Elaine Biddersingh, who has no previous criminal record, has been in custody since March and “will need some time to get over the shock,” said her lawyer Alana Page in an interview with the Sun.
“She is trying to put her life back together after spending almost seven months in jail. This is a really unfortunate, tragic death, but there’s nothing to suggest Elaine was connected to the death of the child.”
Page said she doesn’t know why her client was charged with first-degree murder.
Everton, 56, and Elaine were arrested in Welland and both were charged with first-degree murder in March. Everton also faces an aggraved assault charge involving his daughter Melonie. Her 50-lb. charred remains were found inside a burning suitcase on Sept. 1, 1994 in an industrial region in Vaughan.
A tire fire brought police to an building at 391 Bradwick Dr., southwest of Langstaff Rd. and Dufferin St. When the fire was extinguished, human remains were discovered inside a green suitcase.
Investigators couldn’t identify the girl’s remains for almost two decades, until a “person of conscience” tipped off the Toronto Police Service’s cold case squad in December.
Melonie suffered 21 bone fractures, was clearly undernourished and suffered a hellish existence while in Canada. In 1992, two years before her demise, her brother Dwayne fell to his death from his family’s 22nd floor balcony at Close Ave.
COUPLE CHARGED IN COLD CASE MURDER APPEAR IN COURT
By: Michele Mandel
First Posted: Tuesday, April 03, 2012 03:13 PM EDT
Source: Toronto Sun
» PDF of Toronto Sun Article: COUPLES CHARGED…
TORONTO – It is our first glimpse at the most hated couple in the GTA.
They are Everton Biddersingh, 56, and his wife Elaine, both charged with killing his 17-year-old daughter Melonie, stuffing her malnourished body into a forest green Samsonite suitcase and lighting it afire in 1994 so that no one would ever know who she was.
And for almost two decades, no one did. She was our mysterious Jane Doe, a teen of north African origin who was so small she weighed just 50 pounds. But nothing more was known — even her fingerprints and her footprints had been burned away and no one had reported her missing. So despite numerous public appeals, countless composite drawings and even a clay reconstruction of her face, her charred body remained unidentified and unclaimed in a cold provincial morgue.
She was just the girl in the suitcase, coroner file R21894. Until last month.
Now her father and stepmother are in custody, accused of the heinous crime 18 years before.
They appear separately on the video remand camera before a justice of the peace in a courtroom at Old City Hall: She wears a green sweatsuit from the Vanier Centre for Women; her bearded husband dressed in prison-issue orange at the Don Jail.
He blinks into the camera, unsure where to stand. “This is the first I’ve experienced,” he explains to an unseen guard telling him what to do.
For both, it is all over in a matter of moments. The JP remands them in custody after their lawyers express frustration that they have yet to be given any disclosure from the Crown.
“There is an ongoing investigation in this matter,” the prosecutor explains.
Because the police are now looking into the suspicious death of Melonie’s brother two years before. When 15-year-old Dwayne died after plunging 22 storeys from the family’s Parkdale apartment in 1992, it was ruled a suicide. Now the case has been reopened.
Outside the courtroom, defence lawyer Alana Page is upset her client is being tried by the police in the media while she’s not privy to the evidence against her.
“She intends to defend these charges. She’s very anxious to know what it is the Crown is in possession of. She’s been in custody since March 5 with not a stitch of disclosure,” complains Page, who represents Melonie’s stepmom. “She’s not well. She has no understanding of why they laid these charges.”
The Biddersinghs were living a quiet life in Welland, she says, when they were arrested March 5 and charged with failing to provide the necessities of life. It was at their March 13 hearing that they were stunned to learn those charges had been upped to the first-degree murder of Melonie.
A week later came the stunning press conference where Toronto Police announced they’d finally cracked the cold case after a tip from a “person of conscience.”
Police said Melonie and Dwayne had been sent from their home in Jamaica to find a better life with their father and stepmother in Toronto. But it would turn out far different. “My information was that her life in Toronto wasn’t pleasant,” homicide Det.-Sgt. Steve Ryan told reporters.
Melonie never went to school, so her disappearance was never noted. In 2005, police released shocking details about the mysterious teen’s condition, hoping to spark information. A forensic anthropologist found she was never treated for recent fractures in her back, ribs, pelvis, knee and ankle, possibly from a fall from a great height or car crash, that would have left her immobile and in excruciating pain.
“I can’t imagine the last moments of this girl’s life,” York Region Det. Tim Gore told the Toronto Sun then. “There’s no excuse for it. It’s torture.”
Now the couple accused of that torture have been in custody for a month and under a court order not to contact each other.
The charges are horrific but Everton’s defence lawyer John Erickson warns the public not to jump to any conclusions.
“He’s deeply bothered by comments and articles that are inflammatory and he’s not in a position to respond,” he says.
“It’ll be difficult to have a fair trial,” warns Page.
But that is a long way off. The Biddersinghs next appear by video remand on April 17.