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The Government of the Province of Ontario is offering a total reward of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the murder of thirteen year old Leah Salina Sousa.
On the morning of Sept. 1, 1990, Leah Sousa’s deceased body was found by a childhood friend in the backyard of her Beachview Avenue home in Cumberland Beach, On.
She had been sexually assaulted then brutally beaten to death. Her mother was also assaulted and left for dead inside their home.
She had recently graduated from Ardtrea Public School, and was about to embark on a new chapter as a high school student that September.
Sometime between 1:30 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Sept. 1, someone broke the glass out of the back door of the Sousa home and entered the house where the family was asleep. The had recently returned home from vacation.
Leah was sexually assaulted and dragged outside by the intruder where she was bludgeoned to death with a blunt object police believe may have been a crow bar or tire iron.
Leah’s mother Lora, 36 at the time, was beaten unconscious and left for dead. Leah’s brother, nine-month old, Michael, was left unharmed in his crib.
It is believed Lora could have seen Leah’s killer, but due to significant head trauma sustained during the attack, she has no memory of that night.
In a CTV W5 investigative piece on the murder, it was noted police had identified a bloody shoe print found inside the home following the murder as coming from a Nike all leather court or tennis shoe believed to be either a size nine or 10.
Over the years, police have worked continuously on the case, following up on thousands of tips and re-examining evidence as forensics techniques advance.
More than 1,500 people have been interviewed in relation to the murder over the past three decades, said Det. Insp. Chris Landry, of the OPP’s Criminal Investigation Branch.
In 2008 police received a tip that led to an extensive search for the murder weapon at a wooded property in the Cumberland Beach area, but none was found.
Det. Insp. Chris Landry confirmed that evidence collected 30 years ago has been re-examined in the intervening years amid advances in forensic techniques.
In 2008, OPP erected a series of billboards along Highway 11 from Barrie to Cumberland Beach, as part of a “Do You Know Who Killed Leah Sousa” campaign aimed at drawing in new tips.
Anyone with any piece of information they think could be related to the murder of Leah Sousa and/or the assault of her mother Lora is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), which guarantees anonymity, no matter how insignificant the information may seem.