Toronto

Premier Doug Ford delivers death certificate for murder victim Laura Babcock to family

Laura Babcock's parents have spent months trying to have their murdered daughter officially declared dead. Now, the province has made changes would allow for that to happen.

Ontario has also changed death certificate process after ordeal Babcock's family faced

Laura Babcock disappeared from Toronto in 2012. Dellen Millard and Mark Smich were found guilty of first-degree murder in her death. (Facebook)

Laura Babcock's family has finally received her death certificate — and it was personally delivered by the premier.

Doug Ford visited the family to give them the murdered Toronto woman's death certificate last month, said Ivana Yelich, spokesperson for the premier's office. Thus ends a months-long saga in which the Babcock family was attempting to get the province to officially register her as deceased.

"We were very touched," said Linda Babcock, Laura's mother.

"He just felt it was important for him to personally deliver it to the family," said Ivana Yelich, spokesperson for the premier's office.

The province also announced Monday that it has amended part of the Vital Statistics Act to make it easier to register someone as dead when no remains are found.

That's welcome news to Babcock's mother.

"I'm very pleased that other families won't have to suffer like we have," she told CBC Toronto.

"It's a no brainer."

Babcock, 23, was one of three people who died at the hands of Dellen Millard. The 34-year-old Torontonian was also convicted of first-degree murder in the death of his father, Wayne, as well as Hamilton man Tim Bosma.

Mark Smich, 32, of Oakville, Ont., was also convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of Babcock and Bosma.

Babcock disappeared back in 2012, and Millard and Smich were convicted of her murder in 2017.

Linda Babcock, left, stands next to her husband Clayton as they listen to Crown lawyers speak to the media outside court in Toronto after Millard and Smich were found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of their daughter. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

Babcock's parents received a voter card addressed to their daughter before the 2018 provincial election, and were then shocked to learn that their daughter had not officially been declared dead.

That's because the coroner's office was not able to issue her death certificate. Two of the things that must be recorded as part of that process are cause of death and manner of death, according to the coroner's office, and neither was possible without a body.

That forced the Babcock family to go to court and ask a judge to officially declare her dead — even though two men were already serving life sentences for her murder.

Even with that declaration of death in hand, the coroner's office was unable to issue a death certificate and officially register Babcock as dead, because her remains were never recovered.

Millard, left, and Smich, right, were convicted of first-degree murder in Babcock's death. (Facebook, Instagram)

Yelich told CBC News in an email that the new regulations stipulate a declaration of death from a judge and a statement of death would be enough proof to register a person as dead, as long as "the courts have determined that the individual disappeared in circumstances of peril, is presumed to have died and there are no physical remains."

Babcock said she is very pleased with the province's response on what was undoubtedly a rare conundrum.

"It's been very positive. They've all been very kind," she said.

"It happened far quicker than we thought it would."

adam.carter@cbc.ca

About the Author

Adam Carter

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Adam Carter is a Newfoundlander who now calls Toronto home. He enjoys a good story and playing loud music. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamCarterCBC or drop him an email at adam.carter@cbc.ca.

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