Laura Babcock murder trial: These are the people who tried to help in the days before her disappearance

The ongoing trial into the presumed murder of Toronto's Laura Babcock has heard from a number of her close friends. Many told the jury how they offered her a sympathetic ear or place to stay. These are some of their stories.

A former boyfriend, a Good Samaritan and a childhood friend remember young victim

Laura Babcock disappeared from Toronto in 2012. Dellen Millard and Mark Smich have been charged with her murder. (Facebook)

A former boyfriend turned private detective, a Good Samaritan and a random act of kindness, and so many friends who offered up a place to crash. These are some of the people who helped Laura Babcock in the final weeks and days before she disappeared the summer of 2012.

If you believe the Crown's theory, Babcock was killed by Dellen Millard, 32, of Toronto, and his best friend Mark Smich, 30 of Oakville, Ont.

Both have pleaded not guilty at the ongoing Ontario Superior Court trial.

Babcock, the jury has heard, was the odd woman out in a love triangle, involving Millard and his girlfriend at the time, Christina Noudga, also of Toronto.

Over the last two weeks, the prosecution has followed Babcock's path — where she was and who she was spending time with — up until the evening of July 3.

Her body was never found.

These are among the last people to spend time with Babcock; all of them trying to help her in their own way.

Millard, left, and Smich, right, have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. (Facebook, Instagram)

The good guy, turned private detective

An amazing girl, with a big heart — that's how Shawn Lerner remembers his former girlfriend.

The two had long broken up by that summer but remained close friends.

Lerner, 29, had given Babcock her most cherished possession, after all, her little Maltese dog named Lacey.

He told the jury the last time he saw Babcock was at the end of June 2012.

Shawn Lerner and Babcock remained close friends after dating for a year and a half. (Facebook)

When a few days passed and he heard nothing, he set out to find her.

He started a Facebook group and managed to track down her phone bill, calling all her contacts and keeping track in a small notebook.

As he scanned Babcock's last phone bill, he discovered her final eight phone outgoing calls were to Millard.

He reached out to Millard in a text message: "Really concerned for her safety… Not trying to point a finger, just wondering if she might have mentioned something in passing that can help us find her."

Millard eventually wrote back: "Heard about that, don't know where she is."

Lerner pressed Millard to meet him for coffee at Starbucks in Mississauga. Millard told him Babcock was mixed up with drugs and the wrong people.

Millard, centre, questions Lerner in court on Oct. 24. (Pam Davies/CBC)

Before they parted ways, Millard told Lerner he should have "no reasonable expectation of finding her."

Millard, who is acting as his own lawyer, questioned Lerner's recollection of their encounter.

Lerner remained steadfast. "This was probably the most important meeting of my life. The things I remember clearly, I remember clearly."

The Good Samaritan

Jessica Trevors met Babcock by chance.

The pastry chef, 29, was smoking a cigarette at midnight on her front porch in late June and watched as a cab pulled up and a young woman, with a pile of luggage and a tiny white dog, got out and settled on a park bench.

Trevors, who testified on Oct. 30, crossed the street to introduce herself.

Pastry chef Jessica Trevors, 29, reached over and patted Babcock's parents on the shoulders after she finished her testimony. (Chris Dunseith/CBC )

Babcock told Trevors she had nowhere to go.

She and her constant companion, Lacey, wound up staying with Trevors for four days.

Eventually she drove Babcock home, to her parents' place.

"I felt comfortable taking her there, because that's where I would want to go," she said.

Millard turned and glared at the public gallery as Justice Michael Code called Trevors a 'Good Samaritan,' thanking her for her act of kindness. (Pam Davies/CBC)

It was June 30 when she stood on the front steps of Babcock's childhood home.

The two women exchanged phone numbers and hugs.

They'd talk again later the same day.

Trevors let Babcock know she forgot Lacey's food and water dishes, and a pair of sunglasses at her apartment. Babcock promised she'd pick them up.

She never did.

Friends who listened, cared

That May, Elisabeth Van Rensburg, was driving home to Toronto from Kingston when she saw Babcock's number flash on her phone.

They'd been friends, she told the jury, since they were born.

That conversation — two full hours, the entire drive — would be their last.

Van Rensburg said she mostly just listened.

Stefan Blasiak was also in constant communication with Babcock, one of his best friends.

Friend's video captures Laura Babcock the last time they hung out

4 years ago
Court saw video of Laura Babcock, recorded by her friend Stefan Blasiak the last time they hung out on July 1, 2012. Blasiak said Babcock liked to meow in public and he wanted to show her how goofy she looked. He said his friend seemed happy and excited for life. 0:14

On July 1, he offered her a place to stay. At the time, he lived at home with his parents who kept a strict no-dogs rule.

Babcock, who never parted with Lacey for long, would stay just one night. They watched movies, ate burritos and laughed a lot.

Blasiak captured this video of Babcock on his phone that night: 

Babcock, he explained, liked to meow in public — just to get a laugh.

The clip played on several large screens in the courtroom, Babcock, blonde with big sunglasses, and an infectious grin.


Shannon Martin

Reporter, CBC Toronto

Shannon is an award-winning reporter with CBC Toronto. She was part of the core team that launched "No Fixed Address", a hugely popular series on millenials renting and buying in Toronto. In 2016, Shannon hosted a special live broadcast on-air and on Facebook simultaneously from Toronto Pride, which won top honours in the Digital category at the RTDNA awards. Contact Shannon: or find her on Instagram at @ShannonMartinTV.

With files from Trevor Dunn