Seven-year-old Edmonton girl stabbed to death in her own bed, mother says

Bella Rose Desrosiers, 7, has been identified by her mother as the little girl who was stabbed to death on Monday night. Police have a man in custody, but have not announced charges.

Warning: This story includes graphic and disturbing details

Bella Rose Desrosiers at the lemonade stand she set up in front of her house. (Melissa Desrosiers/Facebook)

Bella Rose Desrosiers played the piano and loved to sing.

She was known in her neighbourhood as the girl who set up a fancy lemonade stand in the summers to raise money for the Stollery Children's Hospital. 

On Monday night, just after her mother tucked her in and kissed her good night, the seven year old was stabbed to death in her own bed.

Melissa Desrosiers gave permission to CBC News to report on the events that led up to her daughter's death. 

She said a long-time friend who is a tattoo artist was having a personal crisis on Monday. 

Desrosiers said she convinced the man to get help and brought him to her house in southeast Edmonton. Partway through the day, Bella Rose drew a picture of the man. Her mother said he smiled when he saw it. 

Melissa Desrosiers clutches a picture her daughter drew of the man suspected of stabbing the seven year old to death. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

Desrosiers said she planned to take her friend to the hospital after she tucked her two daughters into bed. 

She had just said good night to Bella Rose and Lily, 4, when her friend lunged into the room with a pair of scissors, Desrosiers said.

As she watched in horror, her friend attacked the older child, she said. There was nothing she could do to save her, she said. 

Melissa Desrosiers ran out of the room with Lily. 

The last time she saw her friend, she said, he was sitting on the couch. 

Police were called to the house near 25th Avenue and 43rd Street at around 8:45 p.m. Monday after a report of a stabbing. 

They took a man into custody. 

On Tuesday, an Edmonton police spokesperson said homicide detectives were conducting interviews. An autopsy was to be performed either Tuesday or Wednesday. No charges have been announced. For that reason, CBC News is not naming the suspect. 

Police are investigating the death of a young girl at a home near 25th Avenue and 43rd Street in southeast Edmonton. (David Bajer/CBC)

The violence has stunned neighbours on the street.

Gord Brenner called the situation "heartbreaking." 

He said he was out in front of the house for about 20 minutes Monday night. Five minutes after he went inside, he heard sirens. 

"I didn't see anything, I didn't hear anything," Brenner said. "Didn't see anybody out here that shouldn't have been. Didn't see any vehicles that didn't belong in the neighbourhood. It was just a complete shock when we saw all the vehicles come piling up to the front."

Lily, Ben and Bella Rose Desrosiers in an undated photo. (Melissa Desrosiers/Facebook)

Two deaths in less than a year 

Melissa Desrosiers' husband, Ben, died by suicide on July 16, 2019. They had been married for nine years.

Her Facebook page is filled with posts about mental health and suicide.

Last October, she sat on the couch and snuggled with her daughter to record a statement about World Mental Health Day. 

World Mental Health Day message

3 years ago
Duration 0:33
Melissa Desrosiers with her oldest daughter Bella Rose recorded a statement about World Mental Health Day last October.

On Tuesday, Desrosiers described Bella Rose as "very resilient, very strong" and credited the seven-year-old with helping her through her husband's death.

As she broke down in tears, she said her four-year-old daughter is "absolutely sad" that she has lost her best friend. 

Their neighbour describes Desrosiers as one of the strongest women he has ever met. 

"Hopefully everything gets sorted out and Melissa and her youngest daughter can find some sense of normalcy in their life," Brenner said. 

"With how many things that have gone on for them in the past year, I don't know how that ever happens."