Laura Babcock murder trial: These are the people who tried to help in the days before her disappearance
A former boyfriend turned private detective, a Good Samaritan and a random act of kindness, and so many friends who offered up a place to crash. These are some of the people who helped Laura Babcock in the final weeks and days before she disappeared the summer of 2012.
If you believe the Crown’s theory, Babcock was killed by Dellen Millard, 32, of Toronto, and his best friend Mark Smich, 30 of Oakville, Ont.
Both have pleaded not guilty at the ongoing Ontario Superior Court trial.
Read CBC Toronto’s coverage previous coverage of the Babcock murder trial:
- Day 1: ‘Are you nervous?’ Millard questions Babcock’s father
- Day 2: Millard questions Babcock’s ex-boyfriend
- Day 3: Accused killer admitted to burning a body, friend tells trial
- Day 4: Accused killer’s friend breaks down in witness box
- Day 5: Court hears of love triangle and ‘catty’ texting war
- Day 6: Babcock was caught in love triangle, trial hears
- Day 7: Good Samaritan gave Babcock place to stay
- Day 8: Jury hears of Babcock’s struggles with mental health
- Day 9: Last outgoing call made near accused killer’s home
- Day 10: Babcock’s duffel bag found in accused’s home, jury hears
Babcock, the jury has heard, was the odd woman out in a love triangle, involving Millard and his girlfriend at the time, Christina Noudga, also of Toronto.
Over the last two weeks, the prosecution has followed Babcock’s path — where she was and who she was spending time with — up until the evening of July 3.
Her body was never found.
These are among the last people to spend time with Babcock; all of them trying to help her in their own way.
The good guy, turned private detective
An amazing girl, with a big heart — that’s how Shawn Lerner remembers his former girlfriend.
The two had long broken up by that summer but remained close friends.
Lerner, 29, had given Babcock her most cherished possession, after all, her little Maltese dog named Lacey.
He told the jury the last time he saw Babcock was at the end of June 2012.
When a few days passed and he heard nothing, he set out to find her.
He started a Facebook group and managed to track down her phone bill, calling all her contacts and keeping track in a small notebook.
As he scanned Babcock’s last phone bill, he discovered her final eight phone outgoing calls were to Millard.
He reached out to Millard in a text message: “Really concerned for her safety… Not trying to point a finger, just wondering if she might have mentioned something in passing that can help us find her.”
Millard eventually wrote back: “Heard about that, don’t know where she is.”
Lerner pressed Millard to meet him for coffee at Starbucks in Mississauga. Millard told him Babcock was mixed up with drugs and the wrong people.
Before they parted ways, Millard told Lerner he should have “no reasonable expectation of finding her.”
Millard, who is acting as his own lawyer, questioned Lerner’s recollection of their encounter.
Lerner remained steadfast. “This was probably the most important meeting of my life. The things I remember clearly, I remember clearly.”
The Good Samaritan
Jessica Trevors met Babcock by chance.
The pastry chef, 29, was smoking a cigarette at midnight on her front porch in late June and watched as a cab pulled up and a young woman, with a pile of luggage and a tiny white dog, got out and settled on a park bench.
Trevors, who testified on Oct. 30, crossed the street to introduce herself.
Babcock told Trevors she had nowhere to go.
She and her constant companion, Lacey, wound up staying with Trevors for four days.
Eventually she drove Babcock home, to her parents’ place.
“I felt comfortable taking her there, because that’s where I would want to go,” she said.
- ‘I didn’t want her to sleep on the street’: Good Samaritan gave Laura Babcock a place to stay, trial hears
It was June 30 when she stood on the front steps of Babcock’s childhood home.
The two women exchanged phone numbers and hugs.
They’d talk again later the same day.
Trevors let Babcock know she forgot Lacey’s food and water dishes, and a pair of sunglasses at her apartment. Babcock promised she’d pick them up.
She never did.
Friends who listened, cared
That May, Elisabeth Van Rensburg, was driving home to Toronto from Kingston when she saw Babcock’s number flash on her phone.
They’d been friends, she told the jury, since they were born.
That conversation — two full hours, the entire drive — would be their last.
Van Rensburg said she mostly just listened.
Stefan Blasiak was also in constant communication with Babcock, one of his best friends.
On July 1, he offered her a place to stay. At the time, he lived at home with his parents who kept a strict no-dogs rule.
Babcock, who never parted with Lacey for long, would stay just one night. They watched movies, ate burritos and laughed a lot.
Blasiak captured this video of Babcock on his phone that night:
Babcock, he explained, liked to meow in public — just to get a laugh.
The clip played on several large screens in the courtroom, Babcock, blonde with big sunglasses, and an infectious grin.
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