Only After the 3rd Death in One House Did Things Unravel

Bill Harrison was found dead. Then his wife, then his son
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2018 8:30 PM CDT
Updated Apr 29, 2018 4:00 PM CDT
A stock photo of a generic neighborhood.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – The house at 3635 Pitch Pine Crescent in Mississauga, a city near Toronto, had been home to Bill and Bridget Harrison since 1975—and it was the place where they and their adoptive son, Caleb, would all eventually die. In April 2009, Bridget—a "celebrated" teacher, principal, and then superintendent, as Ann Dempsey writes in a lengthy piece for the Toronto Star—came home to find Bill dead in the downstairs powder room. It was odd: The 64-year-old was healthy; there were abrasions on his neck; and the door, which could be locked from either side, was indeed locked, though he had been home alone. The police thought the death seemed "natural" and not suspicious. An exam of his body showed a fractured sternum. But the autopsy determined that while he had no heart issues, an "acute cardiac arrhythmia" caused his death. Twelve months later, Bridget would be dead, too.

She was found at the bottom of the stairs. Though this death was considered suspicious, authorities also thought the 63-year-old could have fallen, though her position—face up with her head on the last step—was unusual. Her death wasn't passed to the homicide bureau, and the coroner wrote that police found no signs of foul play and listed her death as "undetermined." Caleb was then in his late 30s. At 40, on Aug. 23, 2013, he was found dead in the home's master bedroom. An autopsy showed he was likely strangled—and Peel Regional Police finally saw the prior two deaths in a suspicious new light. Dempsey traces the path to Caleb's ex-wife, Melissa Merritt, and her second husband, Christopher Fattore; unpacks the years-long custody battle between Merritt and Caleb and his parents over the couple's two children; and describes the evidence that led to convictions for two of the murders. Read the full story here. (Read more Longform stories.)

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