When William “Bill” Harrison was discovered dead inside his home in 2009, no one could have predicted that his wife, Bridget Harrison and son, Caleb Harrison, would follow suit within years. After all, as detailed in NBC’s “Dateline: The House on Pitch Pine Crescent,” the former’s death was judged natural, only for things to shift when it was revealed that the latter had been raped. So, if you want to learn more about the offender – the old couple’s former daughter-in-law, aka Caleb’s ex-wife Melissa Merritt — we’ve got the information for you.
Who is Melissa Merritt?
Melissa, a newly out of-high school Toronto native, reportedly met Caleb in the fall of 2000 while working her first significant job at a local My Favorite Doll retailing store in Mississauga. Despite their 7-year age difference, they fell in love swiftly, only to marry with their families’ consent and have two children — a son and a daughter — in their lives. Caleb smacked his wife after a heated dispute in 2005.
The physical event in 2005 allegedly wasn’t the first time the father of two let his wrath take over, which was one of the reasons Melissa decided he wasn’t fit to share custody of his two children. The fact that a sad Caleb (due to their separation) had caused a tragic vehicle accident owing to his drunk driving didn’t help matters for her either. Still, the courts noted his unwavering dedication to being a parent. The former marriage was thus granted equal, shared custody, which she constantly fought in one way or another as if she merely wanted the kids to herself.
What Does the Court Record Say?
Melissa also complained about the children’s connection to their paternal grandparents, Bill and Bridget, believing they were dragging them away from her, according to court records, but to no avail. Her assertions showed that she wanted all her children to be together while starting a new family with Christopher “Chris” Fattore (with whom she eventually had four children). This is also why she kidnapped them in April 2009, after Bill died and Caleb was in prison for the vehicle accident, only to be found seven months later.
What Happens After the Incident?
Once the whole timeline of events was revealed, it was clear Melissa was the only person with a conceivable motive against the Harrisons, prompting detectives to focus on her. They thus began on a mission to lure her and Chris out of their home under the guise of winning a free trip to bug the place in the hopes of obtaining damning remarks, which proved successful. The physical DNA evidence directly incriminating Chris in Caleb’s case, in particular, resulted in their arrests in January 2014 on numerous counts of murder. In contrast, Melissa was charged with two charges of first-degree murder in the murders of her ex-husband Caleb and his mother, Bridget.
Where is Killer Melissa Merritt Now?
She was eventually found guilty of the former, but the jury could not reach a unanimous judgement on her role in Bridget’s death due to a lack of evidence, resulting in a mistrial. As a result, she was sentenced to obligatory life in prison without the chance of parole in January 2018, with credit for time already served. She is still held in a high-security penitentiary prison in Ontario and will be eligible for parole in 2039.