Nine-year-old Sharin Morningstar Keenan was brutally murdered over 30 years ago and police are now making an appeal to the family of Dennis Melvin Howe, the lone suspect in the case, to come forward with any information on his whereabouts.
On Jan. 23, 1983, Morningstar Keenan went to play with some friends at Jean Sibelius Square, a park on Brunswick Avenue in Toronto. When she didn’t return home, her father went to the park looking for his daughter.
“When her dad went to the park to go find her and started investigating around the park, he found out that Sharin had been seen talking to an unknown man in the park by some of the other park goers at the time,” Toronto Police Det.-Sgt. Stacy Gallant said.
However, the search yielded no results and Morningstar Keenan wasn’t found.
Gallant said police decided to go door knocking a week after she was last seen to ask local neighbours if they had any information on her disappearance. Officers went to a rooming house on Brunswick Avenue, just one black away from where Morningstar Keenan was last seen.
“The landlord and one of the occupants said they hadn’t seen one of the tenants since Jan. 24, the day after Sharin went missing,” Gallant said.
Police gained access to the rooming house and found the nine-year-old’s body in a refrigerator. She was raped and strangled to death.
“I don’t think anything would ever prepare you for discovering that,” Gallant said.
Police identified Dennis Melvin Howe as a key suspect, but have been unable to find him. Gallant said the suspect would be 76 years old in 2017.
“To think that we had a monster in this city doing something like this – that’s what I would describe him as, a monster,” Gallant said.
“To be able to do that and simply walk away and never to be held accountable and never to be found, where is he?”
Gallant said he wants Howe’s siblings to come forward with any information they may have.
“If we can do that, that would be a great relief to the city and the family and to everybody.”