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  1. #1
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    Canada - Leah Sousa, 13, Cumberland Beach, Ont, 1 Sept 1990

    Information on this unsolved case taken from:

    http://www.opp.ca/ecms/files/250383090.8.pdf

    On Saturday, September 1, 1990, Leah Sousa and her mother, Lora Sousa, age 36, were asleep in their residence in Cumberland Beach, Ontario, when person(s) unknown entered the residence, attacked Leah Sousa and her mother with a weapon.

    Leah Sousa died as a result of severe head injuries. Lora Sousa suffered severe head injuries but survived.



    Tuesday marks 25 years since murder of Leah Sousa, 13

    Sousa died as a result of severe head injuries after someone broke the glass of the back door and entered her home, sometime between 1:30 and 3 a.m. Sept. 1, 1990. Sousa was sexually assaulted and dragged outside, where she was bludgeoned to death with a blunt object police believe might have been a crowbar or tire iron.

    Sousa's mother, Lora, then 36, was beaten unconscious and left for dead on the living-room floor, while her nine-month-old son, Michael, was left unharmed in his crib. Lora has no memory of that night because of the head injuries she sustained during the attack.


  2. #2
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    Thank-you JusticeWillBeServed - a worthy case.

    There is much to find on this case - according to a book by Leah's mom, also a victim in this assault with no recall due to a severe head injury, the perp may be someone connected to the drug world of her brother. Suspect this will never be solved - but would give much to see it solved.

    Not random from what I have in the past - jmo.

  3. #3
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    An article in today's Barrie Examiner -

    http://www.thebarrieexaminer.com/201...-leah-sousa-13

    OPP hopes time will jog memories a quarter-century later and trigger somebody to report something they might have viewed as inconsequential at the time.

    Someone might have "the piece that we're looking for," OPP Sgt. Peter Leon said Friday.


    That's in an interesting view by the OPP - that a memory will be jogged as opposed to someone coming forward after 25 years with some knowledge - the OPP don't expect someone will given who the perp(s) might be? Sad - one would think the SA would have produced some viable evidence. Jmo.

  4. #4
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    It's been 25 years since this brutal attack occurred. Lora Sousa has waited long enough to learn the identity of her daughter's killer. Hoping someone will do the right thing and just give investigators what they need so they can give Leah justice.

    I find it hard to believe that more people in the area didn't hear something happening. This article has a picture of the house and it's located very close to other residences. The perpetrator(s) dragged Leah outside, which had to cause a lot of noise even if she was unconscious. I read that a neighbor heard noises but assumed it was a party or something. Her body wasn't discovered until a friend came over the next morning at 10:30. I'm surprised no one else discovered the body before that time.



    This occurred over a holiday weekend and locals said that a lot of visitors were in the area. I think the person responsible was probably staying nearby. The murder was too violent for them not to have any blood on their clothes and they needed a quick escape. Although I suppose it's possible that someone could have driven away. The selection of that house was not random, according to investigators.

    The OPP believe that the family was targeted by someone who knew they were home alone; someone who knew Cumberland Beach. But they have almost no forensic evidence. Incredibly, for such a bloody scene, the killer left none of his own DNA behind. Despite massive searches over many years, neither the murder weapon nor clothing, which police believe would have been covered in blood, have ever been found.

    There was one bloody shoeprint found inside the residence and by comparing the tread pattern, police were able to identify the exact type of shoe. A Nike all leather court or tennis shoe which police believe was either a size 9 or size 10.
    Woodland, you mention the possible connection to the drug world as described by Lora Sousa in her book. Did her brother ever reveal anything that could make that theory possible?

    In 2008, two men were arrested for giving false information to investigators about this case. They may have legitimate knowledge and they may have been trying to send detectives down the wrong path in an effort to protect someone. I don't know what their intentions were behind submitting the fake tips.

    Pair charged with mischief in Sousa murder case

    Brian Timothy Elson was looked at as a person of interest. Four months after the Sousa murder, he stabbed and killed Sandra Bannister. His grandmother was living down the street from Lora & Leah and investigators believe he was in the area the night of the murders. He denies being in the area that night and having any involvement.

    Unsolved Canada has a good discussion on this case. One poster claims that serial killer Michael Wayne McGray admitted to him that he was responsible for this attack. While he sounds like a credible suspect, I'm sure investigators have ruled him out by this point. Also the one thing I don't think detectives have said is whether Leah's killer may have been responsible for other unsolved cases. Excluding Elson as a suspect, I'm trying to figure out if they believe this was an isolated attack. Did the perpretrator only kill this one time?
    Last edited by JusticeWillBeServed; 09-05-2015 at 01:27 AM.

  5. #5
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    Murder Most Forgotten: A cold case the victim can't remember
    January 30, 2010

    Snipped...
    ...W5 tracked down Elson, who is now living in Orillia, Ontario, about 20 minutes from Cumberland Beach. Asked by W5 reporter Sue Sgambati about the unsolved murder of Leah Sousa and about his interviews with police, Elson said police had accused him of the murder, had arrested him but that he was later released.

    Elson also maintains he had nothing to do with the murder and denied that he was at Cumberland Beach the night of Leah Sousa's murder. "I got 60 people to back me up," he claimed. "All I know is I had nothing to do with it."

    Despite Elson's denials, the OPP said they believe he was in Cumberland Beach the night of the murder. But Elson was released after questioning and has never been charged.
    Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/murder-most-fo...ember-1.479045

  6. #6
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    I had trouble finding older articles for free so I had to utilize the Lexis system my school has. I wanted confirmation on a couple of things and to see what the general reporting was like back then for this case.

    Slain teen was sexually assaulted, September 4 1990, by Pat Conroy Toronto Star

    Neighbors heard screaming and shouting at the Sousa house early Saturday.

    "We didn't think much of it at the time because there are a lot of parties around here in the summer," said a woman who lives nearby but did not want to be identified.
    - Confirming that neighbors did hear something that night but dismissed it as partying. Also reported here that Leah's body was discovered at 11:30 am.

    Police to quiz slain girl's mom, September 5 1990, by CP, Toronto Star

    "I think it was someone she knew. It doesn't look like anyone forced their way in," said Carlos Sousa, Laura's brother
    - Only article I could find that mentions Lora's brother.

    2 youths may know who killed teen, police say, October 26 1990, by N/S, Toronto Star

    - In this article, police note that two teenage boys were having a discussion about the murder at 11:30 pm; same day that it happened. One of them said that he knew the person that claimed to be the killer. A third boy overheard this alleged conversation take place in Orillia's Couchiching Park but he didn't know the names or addresses of the two boys talking. I couldn't find a follow-up article to this but I thought it was a really odd "tip" to publicize. It may have been done as an effort to make people talk.

    Girl's death haunts family, September 5 1993, by Bob Mitchell, Toronto Star

    She and her daughter had spent the previous month at her sister's home in Madoc and had been home less than 36 hours.

    Police and Sousa believe the killer either knew her or knew they lived alone in their home.
    - I don't know if it's significant or not that the attack happened so soon after they returned from vacation. They were gone awhile, I wonder if they asked a neighbor to keep an eye on their house during that time. The perpetrator could have been finding a way inside the house if no one was around. Also, Paul Bernardo is mentioned in this article as being a person of interest but investigators suspect he probably wasn't responsible.

    Mother hopes hypnosis finds daughter's killer, July 28 1994, by Leslie Papp, Toronto Star

    "I just want you to know that you're a coward," she said. "You didn't have the courage to attack us during the day, when we could have gouged your eyes out.

    "I'll see you soon: count on it, coward. You might as well turn yourself in and spare yourself the constant state of alert."
    - A great quote from Lora Sousa, regaining control of her life.


    I also searched for Brian Timothy Elson and Sandra Bannister to see if her homicide was similar. He stabbed Sandra Bannister at a new year's party. She was rushed to the hospital and later died during surgery. He was charged with second degree murder and sentenced to six years in prison. This happened four months after Leah was killed.
    Last edited by JusticeWillBeServed; 09-05-2015 at 10:54 AM.

  7. #7
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    Subscribing with some random thoughts.

    Wonder why the perp moved Leah outside, could it be that he did not want to wake the baby?
    If so, is that significant?
    Could a flashlight be the instrument used to beat the heads of the victims?

    Russell Williams left for Portage La Prairie that year, but might he still have been in Ontario that weekend?
    Wonder what size shoes he wears?

    The leather Nike shoes would have been expensive, wondering if they were old, as perp would probably have to get rid of bloodied ones.
    Did anyone have to replace " lost" back to school shoes?

    imo, speculation.

  8. #8
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    Such a sad & disturbing case. That is a lovely photo of Leah but how heartbreaking.

    Seems too much of a coincidence that they had only been home for about 36 hours. Almost as if someone were waiting. Wonder who was keeping an eye on the house/mail etc while they were away & if anyone came around asking about the Sousas' & when they would be home?

    In reply to the flashlight question, it would make sense that the perpetrator would have a flashlight with them. Especially if lurking around at 1-3a.m with the intent to break in. I'd like to think the M.E was able to identify a possible weapon based off injuries but this was 1990. Who knows what recent technology could reveal?

    Too many of these cases in Ontario during this time frame & many with similar "m.o". Would like to know if DNA has linked any cases or ruled out any known offenders.

    Perhaps the perp broke in to assault Leah & is heard by the mother? While distracted with "taking care of" the mother, Leah tries to escape. Killer goes back for Leah & she has managed to get herself outside where she is found? Just cannot see why anyone would take a person outside & beat them so brutally with houses so close by.

    It's hard to believe nobody heard anything either but last month during the Civic holiday weekend, there was a domestic argument on the street in front of my house. All the neighbours were partying in their yards & there were people outside but nobody saw/heard this couple fighting. Except for me. I was on the porch when I saw it happen. They drove off before I could call police but when I asked the neighbours, no one saw or heard a thing. No one was concerned or interested.

  9. #9
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    Speaking as an Orillia native this is a case that still haunts our community. This little girl deserves justice.

  10. #10
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    Hello ...I live pretty close to this area...and your right this case is disgusting . there were quite a few crimes right around this stretch of location and time no idea if there connected or not but all seem to happen around the same time but this one really sticks out as one of the woarst i can remember in ontario..
    Everything I Write Is JMHO ..


  11. #11
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    According to unsolved Canada there may be a link between this murder and several others in the area.

    http://www.unsolvedcanada.ca/index.php?topic=3094.0

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dotr View Post
    Subscribing with some random thoughts.

    Wonder why the perp moved Leah outside, could it be that he did not want to wake the baby?
    If so, is that significant?
    Could a flashlight be the instrument used to beat the heads of the victims?

    Russell Williams left for Portage La Prairie that year, but might he still have been in Ontario that weekend?
    Wonder what size shoes he wears?

    The leather Nike shoes would have been expensive, wondering if they were old, as perp would probably have to get rid of bloodied ones.
    Did anyone have to replace " lost" back to school shoes?

    imo, speculation.
    I feel like the baby would have been crying. Their residence was modest in size and any kind of loud disturbance probably would have awoken him. Since the poor child was unattended throughout the rest of that night and most of the next morning, I wonder if neighbors heard him crying during this time. Either way, the reason Leah was dragged outside is still not clear.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by whiterhino View Post
    Such a sad & disturbing case. That is a lovely photo of Leah but how heartbreaking.

    Seems too much of a coincidence that they had only been home for about 36 hours. Almost as if someone were waiting. Wonder who was keeping an eye on the house/mail etc while they were away & if anyone came around asking about the Sousas' & when they would be home?

    In reply to the flashlight question, it would make sense that the perpetrator would have a flashlight with them. Especially if lurking around at 1-3a.m with the intent to break in. I'd like to think the M.E was able to identify a possible weapon based off injuries but this was 1990. Who knows what recent technology could reveal?

    Too many of these cases in Ontario during this time frame & many with similar "m.o". Would like to know if DNA has linked any cases or ruled out any known offenders.

    Perhaps the perp broke in to assault Leah & is heard by the mother? While distracted with "taking care of" the mother, Leah tries to escape. Killer goes back for Leah & she has managed to get herself outside where she is found? Just cannot see why anyone would take a person outside & beat them so brutally with houses so close by.

    It's hard to believe nobody heard anything either but last month during the Civic holiday weekend, there was a domestic argument on the street in front of my house. All the neighbours were partying in their yards & there were people outside but nobody saw/heard this couple fighting. Except for me. I was on the porch when I saw it happen. They drove off before I could call police but when I asked the neighbours, no one saw or heard a thing. No one was concerned or interested.
    I forgot that someone said that Lora's brother was living with them at one point. He may have been there during the summer and while they were on vacation.

    As you point out, it's odd that no one thought the "noises" coming from the house were indicative of something sinister. Unfortunately it does happen. However, just like you were the only one who noticed the couple fighting, there's a good chance that at least one neighbor has more knowledge about the attack then they have shared. Do you know if they have said how long they believe the intruder was in the house?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhew86 View Post
    According to unsolved Canada there may be a link between this murder and several others in the area.

    http://www.unsolvedcanada.ca/index.php?topic=3094.0
    Welcome to Websleuths jhew86 and thanks for the link!
    Last edited by JusticeWillBeServed; 09-24-2015 at 04:32 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeWillBeServed View Post
    I forgot that someone said that Lora's brother was living with them at one point. He may have been there during the summer and while they were on vacation.

    As you point out, it's odd that no one thought the "noises" coming from the house were indicative of something sinister. Unfortunately it does happen. However, just like you were the only one who noticed the couple fighting, there's a good chance that at least one neighbor has more knowledge about the attack then they have shared. Do you know if they have said how long they believe the intruder was in the house?
    I have to agree, there is little doubt that someone heard something. I have been to this area of Cumberland Beach and the houses are VERY close together. It is hard to imagine that there was no indication to the neighbors that there was a struggle underway.

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