'Her story haunts me every day': Former homicide detective turned reporter reflects on 'suitcase murder'
Steve Ryan, CP24 Crime Specialist
Published Saturday, January 27, 2018 7:00AM EST
After 14 years as a homicide detective, I came to see the city in a unique way.
Each street, for me, is marked by the memory of a victim whose life ended in a nefarious way -- each happy moment in my life overshadowed by the grim reminder of the wicked underside of Toronto that I have come to know all too well.
The memory of these women, children and men weighs heavy on me as a professional, but also as a son, husband, friend and father.
Perhaps worse than the grim crime scenes were the tears of the loved ones left behind. Seeing mothers and fathers weep over their children, and entire families struggle under the sheer force of grief etched into me a harsh reality that can never be erased.
In 2012, while working in the cold case unit, I came face to face with what would be my last homicide investigation.
It started with a tip phoned in to my office; which led me down a path into the world of Melonie Biddersingh. She was a young girl who came to Canada from Jamaica in 1991 to be with her father and to live an improved and happy life, as so many immigrants to Canada desire.
She left her mother and everything she knew to embark on a new journey in a new country. Melonie, however, was never allowed happiness or the comfort of a family. Instead, she spent the short years left of her life, from the time she arrived in Canada, suffering torturous physical abuse at the hands of her father and stepmother.
She was killed in 1994.
The cruelty she endured is heartbreaking, and her story haunts me every day. Her father, Everton Biddersingh was eventually convicted of first-degree murder in her death. His wife, Elaine Biddersingh, was convicted of second-degree murder. They are appealing their convictions.
What weighs on me constantly is the thought that Melonie could still be alive today. She could have been a bright vibrant member of our community, thriving in her life.
She was ripped from the world as a teenager who had only known a life of pain and mistreatment. There was no one there to ensure she was safe, no one to make sure she went to school, no one to make sure she had a bed to sleep in or a meal to eat.
This tragedy could have been prevented, if only someone would have known.
The gruesome details of the murder of Melonie Biddersingh followed by the long prosecution of her killers took a personal toll. I could not stomach seeing another case like this one – seeing another child betrayed, hurt and exploited by her own family.
Unfortunately, I know there will be more children like Melonie and that is why I believe we have to do everything in our power to stop crimes such as this one from taking place. We need to watch over the children in our country closely, to protect them from falling victim to tragedies such as these.
I never want Melonie to become nameless and forgotten. I made a promise to her mother, Opal, that I would do everything I can to ensure another child like Melonie does not die the way she did.
This is why I am sharing this story with you. I hope to keep Melonie alive in our collective memory.
No child should live and die unknown.
Police supplementary report on Dwayne Biddersingh’s death, which outlines injuries seen on Melonie in 1992
Letter to Opal Austin from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in Jamaica about Melonie’s well-being in Canada and Dwayne’s death
- Elaine Biddersingh’s sentencing decision
Watch 'The Girl in the Suitcase' on Saturday, January 27, 2018 on CTV’s W5 at 7pm.