Cimarron MacDonald has had many sleepless nights over the past two 20 years after her sister, Florence Harrison, and another woman, Therese Melanson, were found dead in the stairwell of a community housing building in Toronto.
MacDonald said her younger sister loved bringing the family together for special occasions and acted as the glue that held them together.
“She loved Christmas. That was her favourite time of year and she was always bringing the family together for any occasion,” MacDonald said.
“Christmas dinner was very important and just the whole family being together.”
On Jan. 5, 1997, just two weeks after the family spent holidays together, MacDonald received a phone call from her mother saying Harrison had been killed.
“My mom called me at work. I think it was a Monday morning,” she said.
“She told me ‘Flowy’ isn’t here anymore.”
The 32-year-old was found shot to death in the sixth floor stairwell of 274 Sackville Street.
Melanson’s body was found right beside Harrison’s and police said they were discovered 12 hours after the shooting occurred.
“They were at a bar on Parliament Street, just north of Dundas on the west side up until 1:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.,” said Det.-Sgt. Stacy Gallant.
“It’s the minutes leading up to this happening is what we are concerned about that somebody may know.”
At the time, the area was notoriously known to be frequented by drug dealers and sex trade workers.
“They had ties to the building that they were found in,” Gallant said, adding that the two women didn’t live in there.
“They were known as sex trade workers in the area and how that plays into this case, we don’t know.”
Police were not able to locate the person responsible for the death.
“We are looking for one killer and one gun,” he said.
MacDonald said she believes there is someone who knows who is responsible for her sister’s death and she is urging them to come forward.
“There was other people in the stairwell with them. There are people who know,” she said.
“They have nothing to be afraid of anymore it’s been 20 years… [It would give us] some closure. Some peace and a chance to move on with good memories.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Toronto police homicide unit at 416-808-7400, firstname.lastname@example.org or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.
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