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Dec. 6th: In Memory of a Friend, Murdered at Age 27

Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Every December 6th, I pause to think of the events of Dec. 6, 1989, in Montreal. Then I remember my friend Eva Marie Mead, who was stalked, kidnapped, and murdered at the age of 27 in 1988.

Here's a summary of the events of the case, reconstructed from information from a law newsletter on the website of law firm Lang Michener, and from a Toronto Star news story from November 23, 2004.

Richard Raymond Babinski was charged with the murder of Eva Marie Mead, the 27-year-old single mother he was charged with sexually assaulting seven months prior to her disappearance. Four days before her disappearance, Babinski broke into her apartment carrying a hammer and some rope and held her against her will, talking about a sexual assault charge she had brought against him. When the crime was reported to the police, the police received Mead's consent to tape record a telephone conversation between her and Babinski. Babinski did not call, as was expected, and the police asked Mead to call him instead. She was asked to elicit information regarding the break and enter into her home a few days earlier. The conversation elicited the desired information. In addition to this, however, Mead told Babinski where she worked. Mead disappeared later that day -- on October 19, 1988. Her nude, decomposed body was discovered seven months later behind a factory where Babinski worked at the time. Babinski was tried three times and convicted twice of murder. He recently sought a fourth trial, but that attempt was unsuccessful. Babinski is currently serving a sentence for first-degree murder.

Eva and I had been out of touch for about two years by the time of her murder. I'd moved away to get married and to start a family and she'd left The Job From Hell (where we'd worked together) in order to take a better job. I heard about her murder on the news when I was running errands in Peterborough with my baby in the car. I wrote a letter to Eva's mother, sharing a few of my memories of Eva so that she could share those memories with Eva's then seven-year-old son Jeremy. (He was six years old at the time of her disappearance.) Here's one of the memories I shared.

When we were working at The Job from Hell, our bosses insisted that Eva make and serve them coffee all the time. (I think they were recent grads from the Stegosaurus School of Management Studies.) When they were interviewing Eva for the job, they should have screened a little more carefully for signs of subversion because Eva wasn't the type to allow herself to be pushed around by anyone. One Monday morning, the bosses roared out the usual requests for coffee. She smiled sweetly and brought them coffee with cream -- cream that had been lying in the garbage can all weekend. That's the Eva I remember -- beautiful, funny, feisty, and unwilling to put up with b.s. from anyone.

Unfortunately, that fighting spirit wasn't enough to keep her safe. She did everything you're supposed to do when you run up against someone scary and dangerous -- got in touch with the police, filed charges, and helped the police gather evidence against the man who had sexually assaulted her (and who was later convicted of murdering her). In the end, obsession trumped common sense.

This is the first time I've written about Eva, although I've often thought about doing so. I didn't want to dishonor her memory in any way by writing "the wrong thing" but then I thought that not writing anything about her might be dishonoring her memory even more. If you type "Eva Marie Mead" into a search engine, the only hit you will will get describes Babinski's unsuccessful attempts to have the Ontario Court of Appeal overturn his third murder trial (and his second conviction) for Eva's murder. That doesn't seem right. It's as if her entire life has been replaced with the facts of her murder. It seems to me that there should be more about Eva: something to reflect the fact that she was a caring and devoted mother; a much-loved daughter and sister; the very type of person you would have wanted as a friend. That's why I wrote this post in her memory, years after her death: to say that Eva has not been forgotten and will not be forgotten by those who had the good fortune to know her. I was one of the lucky ones.

| posted by Ann D @ 10:44 AM