Laura Babcock’s last call connected with cell tower near Millard’s home, murder trial hears
TORONTO – When the final outgoing call came from the cellphone of a Toronto woman who vanished five years ago, her accused killers’ phones pinged off cell towers nearby, court heard Thursday.
The prosecution in the first-degree murder trial of Dellen Millard and Mark Smich in the presumed death of Laura Babcock methodically walked two witnesses through a trove of cellphone tower location data for all three phones during the summer of 2012.
The records show Babcock’s phone arriving at a cell tower near Kipling subway station in the early evening of July 3, 2012. Around the same time, Millard’s phone connected with the same cell tower.
The pair of phones moved to a tower near Millard’s home on Toronto’s western edge where Smich’s phone connected with a nearby tower, according to data from a police analyst.
Millard, 32, of Toronto, and Smich, 30 of Oakville, Ont., have pleaded not guilty in the presumed death of Babcock, whose body has not been found.
The Crown contends Babcock was killed at Millard’s home because she was the odd woman out in a love triangle with Millard and his girlfriend.
Court has heard that Millard was sleeping with several women at the time of Babcock’s disappearance and didn’t care much about the animosity between Babcock and his girlfriend.
The final outgoing call from Babcock’s phone came at 7:03 p.m. on July 3, 2012, according to testimony from Danielle Fortier, who works with Rogers Communications.
There have been no outgoing texts sent from her phone since, she said.
Her final call was “consistent with someone calling voicemail and putting in a password,” Fortier said. She noted the numbers 2-2-2 were pressed on that call, which lasted 60 seconds.
That call connected with a cell tower in Toronto’s west end, 450 metres from Millard’s home.
The jury then watched the movements of three phones – Millard’s, Smich’s and Babcock’s – in animations created by Nicole Rebelo, an intelligence analyst with Toronto police.
She compiled cellphone data provided by various phone companies, including Rogers, where Babcock had a phone registered in her mother’s name.
“I took the electronic version of all three phones, sorted it by day and time and imported that into software and created a series of mapping motions,” Rebelo told court.
Shortly after midnight on July 4, 2012, the phones began to move. They started at a tower near Millard’s home before all three moved westbound.
The data showed Millard’s phone moving westbound, eventually pinging off towers near his farm near Waterloo, Ont., and his business, an aviation company, nearby. Then his phone headed back to Toronto.
Smich’s phone moved westbound, eventually pinging off towers near his home in Oakville, Ont.
Babcock’s phone moved west, but stopped in the middle of Mississauga, Ont.
The Crown alleges the pair killed Babcock on July 3 or 4 at Millard’s home and burned her body in a large incinerator that was later found on Millard’s farm.
© 2017 The Canadian Press