Leslie Erin Mahaffy
was a teenaged female student, resident of Burlington
Burlington , is a city located in Halton Region at the western end of Lake Ontario. Burlington is part of the Greater Toronto Area, and is also included in the Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area. Physically, Burlington lies between the north shore of Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment...
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...
, who was murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...
ed by serial killer
A serial killer, as typically defined, is an individual who has murdered three or more people over a period of more than a month, with down time between the murders, and whose motivation for killing is usually based on psychological gratification...
s Paul Bernardo
Paul Kenneth Bernardo, also known as Paul Jason Teale , is a Canadian serial killer and rapist, known for the sexual assaults and murders he committed with his wife Karla Homolka and the serial rapes he committed in Scarborough.-Early life:Bernardo's mother, Marilyn, was the adopted daughter of a...
and Karla Homolka
Karla Leanne Homolka, also known as Karla Leanne Teale , is a Canadian serial killer. She attracted worldwide media attention when she was convicted of manslaughter following a plea bargain in the 1991 and 1992 rape-murders of two Ontario teenage girls, Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, as well as...
. Mahaffy's kidnapping was one in a series of disappearances of Ontario schoolgirls in the early 1990s, including Kristen French
Kristen Dawn French was a Canadian Catholic school girl and the victim of a gruesome and much-publicized murder.-Biography:...
, also a victim of Bernardo and Homolka. Prior to killing Mahaffy in 1991 and French in 1992, the pair had raped and killed Homolka's teenaged sister Tammy
Tammy Lyn Homolka was the younger sister and victim of Canadian murderer Karla Homolka and her partner, Paul Bernardo.Tammy grew up in the city of St. Catharines, Ontario...
in 1990. The disappearances, arrests, and convictions were widely covered in Canadian media, becoming one of the most notorious crimes in Canadian history.
Leslie Erin Mahaffy was born July 5, 1976, to Debbie Smith Mahaffy and Robert "Dan" Mahaffy. Her brother Ryan was born some years later. Her father was an oceanographer for the Canadian federal Fisheries and Oceans
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, frequently referred to as DFO , is the department within the government of Canada that is responsible for developing and implementing policies and programs in support of Canada's economic, ecological and scientific interests in oceans and inland waters...
department, and sometimes would be on assignments away from home for weeks at a time. Her mother was a teacher.
Though she had been close to her family, when she turned fourteen, Mahaffy began to rebel and run away from home. However, she always phoned home during her absences. When she missed the funeral of a friend the day after she missed a Friday night curfew, her mother became gravely concerned and contacted the police. When Mahaffy failed to phone home on her own birthday about two weeks later, her family was certain that she had not called them because she could not.
Her mother Debbie would later become prominent in the struggle to maintain and enforce the judge's gag order about the trials of Mahaffy's killers, and the videotapes they made of their own crimes which were used as evidence against them.
Mahaffy's remains are interred under a family headstone at Burlington Memorial Gardens in Burlington, Canada. There is also a heart-shaped garden with a plaque in Leslie's honour at M.M. Robinson (the highschool she attended), and a memorial bench nearby her family headstone. The remains of her killers' third and final victim, Kristen French
Kristen Dawn French was a Canadian Catholic school girl and the victim of a gruesome and much-publicized murder.-Biography:...
, were dumped on a side road near the Mahaffy gravesite.
At the time of her abduction and subsequent murder in mid-June 1991, just a few weeks before her fifteenth birthday, Leslie Mahaffy was a Grade 9 student at M.M. Robinson High School
M.M. Robinson High School is a high school located in northern Burlington, Ontario, Canada, administered by the Halton District School Board. Founded in 1963, the school is named after the founder of the British Empire Games, Melville Marks Robinson, who was subsequently a Board member.The school,...
in Burlington. Like many teens that age, she wore braces on her teeth.
On the evening of June 14, 1991, Mahaffy went to a funeral home to attend a wake for her friend Chris Evans, a boy who had died in a car accident earlier that week.
After the wake, a large group of teens met in the woods to drink and console one another. As the evening wound down, a couple of friends walked her home shortly before 2:00 AM, where they stayed with her while she found the side door locked. She told them the front door would surely be unlocked, and sent them home. After they left her, she found the front door was locked as well.
Now alone, Mahaffy walked to a pay phone at Macs Milk and called a friend's house for permission to sleep over. Her friend told her no, and after a lengthy conversation that ended after 2:30 AM, Mahaffy said she would go back home and wake up her own mother to get in the house.
Her family was concerned when she was not home on the morning of Saturday, June 15. When Mahaffy failed to appear later that day at the funerals for her friend Chris Evans and the three teens killed with him, her mother phoned the police. On June 18, Debbie Mahaffy filed the official paperwork to have her daughter sought and arrested as a runaway.
Paul Bernardo eventually admitted he had been on Keller Court, where the Mahaffy home was located, to steal license plates. He saw Leslie Mahaffy alone. He claims he told her he was breaking into the house next door and then offered her a cigarette, which he said was back at his car. When she was close enough to the car, he said he wrapped his sweatshirt quickly around her head, forced her into the vehicle, and took her to the home he shared with Homolka. Homolka's version of the story is similar, but she claims that once he got Mahaffy to the car to fetch the cigarette, he pulled a knife on the girl to get her compliance. Both agree that Homolka was not present during the kidnapping.
After 24 hours of rape and abuse by both of the killers, Mahaffy was murdered sometime Saturday night. According to Homolka, Bernardo strangled Leslie Mahaffy with an electrical cord a second time when the first attempt left her unconscious for a few minutes. Homolka, a veterinary technician, had access to sedative drugs which were used to subdue Mahaffy, the same technique the pair used in the rape of Homolka's sister six months before; the drugs used to murder and rape the 15 year old child.
Bernardo stated that he was out of the room, preparing the car to transport Mahaffy to a location where she would be released, when the heavily-drugged Mahaffy died. He has claimed he did not even know she was dead until, after putting gas in the car and taking a shower, he tried to pick her up to carry her away. He said he and Homolka panicked, and that he tried to give Mahaffy artificial respiration
Artificial respiration is the act of assisting or stimulating respiration, a metabolic process referring to the overall exchange of gases in the body by pulmonary ventilation, external respiration, and internal respiration...
. Both killers agree that they gave her a teddy bear
The teddy bear is a stuffed toy bear. They are usually stuffed with soft, white cotton and have smooth and soft fur. It is an enduring form of a stuffed animal in many countries, often serving the purpose of entertaining children. In recent times, some teddy bears have become collector's items...
to hold during breaks between assaults.
Sunday, June 16, 1991 was Father's Day
Father's Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. Many countries celebrate it on the third Sunday of June but it is also celebrated widely on other days...
. Bernardo and Homolka moved Mahaffy's body from an upstairs bedroom to the basement. They then entertained the Homolka family—without Homolka's sister, Tammy, whom they had murdered December 24, 1990—on the main floor of the house, with Homolka making a special effort to keep her mother from going downstairs. When the family left, Bernardo and Homolka used his grandfather's circular saw to dismember Mahaffy's body into pieces small enough to lift when covered with cement. Later, in a confession to her aunt before revealing details to the police, Homolka claimed that Bernardo did this while she was at work on Monday. Bernardo's version asserts that she did not help him rinse and bag the body parts.
Mahaffy's body was found dismembered and encased in cement on June 29, 1991 in Lake Gibson
Lake Gibson is a lake near Thorold, Ontario, Canada. The lake is not natural, but rather was created as a reservoir for hydroelectric power generation at the Ontario Power Generation Decew Falls 1 and Decew Falls 2 generating stations. The lake was created by flooding the shallow valley of...
near St. Catharines, Ontario
St. Catharines is the largest city in Canada's Niagara Region and the sixth largest urban area in Ontario, Canada, with 97.11 square kilometres of land...
. The concrete block containing the torso weighed over 200 pounds. Her braces and dental records confirmed her identity.
Investigators immediately believed she had been rape
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...
d and torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...
d. This was confirmed when videotapes were discovered in the home of Bernardo and Homolka. The tapes show that she was held hostage for approximately 24 hours and repeatedly assaulted and sodomized
Anal sex is the sex act in which the penis is inserted into the anus of a sexual partner. The term can also include other sexual acts involving the anus, including pegging, anilingus , fingering, and object insertion.Common misconception describes anal sex as practiced almost exclusively by gay men...
. After Bernardo's final bid for an appeal before the Supreme Court was rejected, the tapes were all destroyed by the Ontario government
The Government of Ontario refers to the provincial government of the province of Ontario, Canada. Its powers and structure are set out in the Constitution Act, 1867....
Bernardo's 2005 statements
Several days before Homolka's release from prison in 2005, Bernardo was interviewed by police and his lawyer, Tony Bryant. Bryant was subsequently interviewed by the media, providing Bernardo's thoughts about the release.
According to Bryant, Bernardo claimed that he had always intended to free the girls he and Homolka had held captive. Bernardo claimed that Homolka was worried that Leslie Mahaffy's blindfold had fallen off, and that she would be able to identify them. Further, Bernardo claimed that Homolka's plan was to murder Mahaffy by injecting an air bubble into her bloodstream, eventually causing an embolism
An air embolism, or more generally gas embolism, is a pathological condition caused by gas bubbles in a vascular system. The most common context is a human body, in which case it refers to gas bubbles in the bloodstream...
Video and television accounts
Dark Heart, Iron Hand
. Documentary broadcast by MSNBC
MSNBC is a cable news channel based in the United States available in the US, Germany , South Africa, the Middle East and Canada...
. Rebroadcast as an episode of the series MSNBC Investigates
retitled "To Love and To Kill" May 31, 2002 and September 4, 2007.
Karla is a 2006 American drama and thriller film. The film is based on the true story of two of Canada's most notorious serial killers, Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka.-Synopsis:...
starring Laura Prepon
Laura Prepon is an American actress, best known for her role as Donna Pinciotti in the long-running Fox situation comedy That '70s Show, for all eight seasons. She is also known for the role of Hannah Daniels on the ABC drama October Road...
and Misha Collins
Misha Collins is an American actor and producer. He is best known for his role as the angel Castiel on the CW television series Supernatural.-Personal life:...
. Monterey Video (2007) No ISBN available. .
- Burnside, Scott and Alan Cairns. Deadly Innocence. Grand Central Publishing, Warner Books edition (1995) ISBN 0446601543.
- Davey, Frank. Karla's Web. Viking Adult (1994) ISBN 0670861537.
- O'Neill, Brian. A Marriage Made For Murder. O'Neill Enterprises (1995) ISBN 0969977913.
- Pron, Nick. Lethal Marriage: The Uncensored Truth Behind the Crimes of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. Seal Books (2005). ISBN 077042936X.
- Williams, Stephen. Karla: A Pact with the Devil. Seal Books. (2004) ISBN 0770429629.
- Williams, Stephen. Invisible Darkness: The Strange Case Of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. Bantam (1997) ISBN 055356854X.