Leanne Freeman

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Leanne Freeman
Born 1988
Winnipeg
Died 2011-11-29
Toronto
Nationality Canada
Occupation sex trade worker
Known for murdered in Toronto's Portland

On November 29, 2011, Leanne Freeman, a 23 year old woman, was found on Unwin Avenue, mortally wounded with a gun shot wound to her head.[1][2][3] Freeman was found at 1am. When she was taken to St Michael's Hospital she was believed to be a victim of a hit and run accident.[4]

Police investigation

Initially police said they could neither confirm or refute whether her death was related to her work in the sex trade.[3] By December 9, 2011, police spokesmen were willing to go on record with the opinion that her killing "was not random".[5][6][7]

On December 3, 2011, an Ontario Provincial Police spokesman said they were looking into similiarities between Freeman's murder and that of Kyla Freeland.[4] 20 year old Freeland who had been murdered in January 2011, not only had a similar name, but had brown hair like Freeman, dimples, and had quit working as an escort just a month prior to her death. According to the Toronto Star Canadian Police were sensitive to the criticism that they didn't work with Police in other jurisdictions following the BC Missing Women Investigation where almost 50 murders of sex trade workers were the responsibility of Robert Pickton known to Police in Vancouver and neighbouring municipalities, who failed to share their notes.

Police said that Freeman was "living a transient's lifestyle".[5][8][9] On December 9, 2011, her belongings were found in a dumpster on Kingston Road, near Midland Avenue, about a 20 minute drive from where her body was found. Police believe her killer disposed of her belongings shortly after the murder. They believe Freeman was not working the night of her killing and that she knew her murderer.

Freeman had been charged with drug possession in the summer of 2011, when she was living in Winnipeg, Manitoba.[5] But she had never been convicted of a crime.

On December 17, 2011, two Toronto men were arrested and charged with her murder.[8][10][11] 31 year old Robert Beauregard was arrested on December 17 and charged with first degree murder. 23 year old Jonathan Ash had been arrested on December 16, charged with accessory to murder. Ash's charges were upgraded to first degree murder in August 2012.[12][13]

Freeman's murder was the 42nd in Toronto in 2011.[11]

Life on the streets

According to an aunt Leanne and her siblings had been under the care of child protection agencies due to her mother's inability to properly care for them.[14] Her mother died from a drug overdose in 2009.

According to those who knew her Freeman had been living on the streets for three years prior to her death.[8] She was addicted to crystal meth according to one of her brothers.[7]

The Toronto Star helped set up a trust fund, after many readers expressed sympathy for Freeman's family, who were unable to pay for her funeral.[7] Her ashes were buried next to her mother's remains in Winnipeg, in a double funeral. On January 8, 2012, an engraved 360 kg granite stone was placed at 450 Unwin Avenue, near where her body had been found.[15][16]

References

  1. "Winnipeg woman murdered in Toronto knew killer: police". CTV News. 2011-12-09. http://m.ctv.ca/topstories/20111209/toronto-homicide-leanne-freeman-111209.html. Retrieved 2012-01-01.  mirror
  2. "Woman, 23, found dead from gunshot in Port Lands". CTV News. 2011-11-29. http://toronto.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20111129/port-lands-death-unwin-avenue-111129?hub=TorontoNewHome. Retrieved 2012-03-13.  mirror
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Police warn sex workers after Winnipeg woman killed in T.O.". CTV News. 2011-12-01. http://m.ctv.ca/topstories/20111129/port-lands-death-unwin-avenue-111201.html. Retrieved 2012-03-13. "Toronto police said on Thursday that a young woman who died after she was found shot in the Port Lands area was working in the sex trade, but could not confirm her job had any connection to her death."  mirror
  4. 4.0 4.1 Curtis Rush (2011-12-03). "OPP investigating possible link in two sex-trade workers’ deaths". Toronto Star. http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/article/1096451--opp-investigating-possible-link-in-two-sex-trade-workers-deaths. Retrieved 2012-03-13. "The Ontario Provincial Police is probing a possible link between the murder of sex-trade worker Leanne Freeman and the suspicious death of former escort Kera Freeland, whose body was dumped at a remote Caledon site in March, The cases have disturbing similarities, from the women’s lifestyle to their last names and their dimples and chestnut hair, although years of bad living had hardened both their features." 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Showwei Chu (2011-12-09). "Port Lands murder wasn’t random: police". City TV. http://www.citytv.com/toronto/citynews/news/local/article/173932--port-lands-murder-wasn-t-random-police. Retrieved 2012-03-13. "Last week, Borg said he wasn’t sure if Freeman’s line of work as a sex trade worker was connected to her murder. He said Freeman lived a “transient” lifestyle. He also said she had a history of drug use and had been charged with possession and trafficking in Winnipeg in June. But on Friday he said that she was not working that night."  mirror
  6. Chris Kitching (2011-12-09). "Freeman killed by someone she knew: police". CP24. http://www.cp24.com/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20111209/111209_freeman_homicide/20111209/?hub=CP24Home. Retrieved 2012-03-13. "Police said Freeman lived a transient lifestyle and moved back to Toronto from Winnipeg about three months ago after living in Manitoba and across Ontario. Freeman was known to Toronto police, although she doesn't have a criminal record, police said previously. She was also known to police in Winnipeg, where she was facing outstanding charges at the time of her death."  mirror
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "'She was an angel,' says Toronto homicide victim's family". CBC News. 2011-12-12. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2011/12/11/toronto-freeman-memorial.html. Retrieved 2012-03-13. ""I don't even know what to say," said 20-year-old Tim Freeman as he visited the makeshift memorial for his sister on Unwin Avenue."  mirror
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Curtis Rush (2011-12-17). "Two men charged in Freeman slaying". Toronto Star. http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1103298--two-men-charged-in-freeman-slaying. Retrieved 2012-03-13. "Both Beauregard and Ash knew each other. Beauregard had known Freeman for a short period of time, Borg said. Ash was a friend of Freeman’s on Facebook."  mirror
  9. "Two men charged in fatal shooting of Toronto woman" (in English). Globe and Mail. Archived from the original. Error: If you specify |archiveurl=, you must also specify |archivedate=Template:Namespace detect showall. https://web.archive.org/web/20140117014010/http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/two-men-charged-in-fatal-shooting-of-toronto-woman/article4181334/. Retrieved 2014-01. "Globe and Mail" 
  10. Yehonathan Tommer (2011-12-17). "Two charged in Leanne Freeman homicide". Vancouverite. http://www.vancouverite.com/2011/12/17/two-charged-in-leanne-freeman-homicide/. Retrieved 2012-03-13. "Police have arrested two men in the homicide of Leanne Freeman, aged 23, whose body was found strewn on Unwin Avenue on November 29."  mirror
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Ontario men arrested in Winnipeg woman's slaying". CBC News. 2011-12-16. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2011/12/16/leanne-freeman-homicide.html. Retrieved 2012-03-13. "Police previously said they believed she was killed by someone she knew, and Borg said Friday that Beauregard and Freeman had known each other for a short period of time."  mirror
  12. Katherine Dunn (2012-08-07). "Murder charge laid in shooting death of Leanne Freeman: A Toronto man has been charged with first-degree murder more than eight months after the death of 23-year-old Leanne Freeman". Toronto Star. http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2012/08/07/murder_charge_laid_in_shooting_death_of_leanne_freeman.html. Retrieved 2014-01-18. "A Toronto man has been charged with first-degree murder more than eight months after the death of 23-year-old Leanne Freeman. The charge was laid Tuesday against Jonathan Ash, 23, who was initially charged with being an accessory after the fact." 
  13. Matthew Braga (2012-08-07). "Man faces upgraded murder charge in Leanne Freeman case". Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2014-01-17. https://web.archive.org/web/20140117013952/http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/man-faces-upgraded-murder-charge-in-leanne-freeman-case/article4467949/. Retrieved 2014-01-18. "“The officers continued their investigation after he was charged with accessory after the fact to murder," said Toronto Police Service Constable Tony Vella. "As a result of their further investigation, there was additional evidence to lay a charge of first degree murder.”" 
  14. Alyshah Hasham (2011-11-30). "Homicide victim ‘a sad, lost girl crying out for help’". Toronto Star. http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1095233--homicide-victim-a-sad-lost-girl-crying-out-for-help. Retrieved 2012-03-13. "Freeman and her four siblings were put into care when it became clear her mother was unable to look after them, said Maureen. When Lori died in 2009, her daughter was devastated. “I want to be with my mommy, I want to be with my mommy,” Freeman would tell an aunt."  mirror
  15. Noor Javed (2012-01-15). "Port Lands memorial to slain woman has magnetic effect on passersby". Toronto Star. http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1115981--port-lands-memorial-to-slain-woman-has-magnetic-effect-on-passersby. Retrieved 2012-03-13. "It is an unlikely place for a memorial, at the side of a nondescript road flanked by factories and empty land. But this is why cars pull over to have a look, runners stop to read the inscription and it is almost impossible to pass by the engraved stone without at least a quick glance."  mirror
  16. Jason Seputis (2012-01-08). "Remembering Leanne Freeman: Strangers honour homicide victim with permanent memorial in Toronto". CBC News. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2012/01/08/toronto-leanne-freeman-memorial-stone.html. Retrieved 2012-03-13. "Total strangers are helping to honour 23-year-old homicide victim Leanne Freeman by setting up a permanent memorial in Toronto, Jasmin Seputis reports."  mirror