Duffel bag belonging to Laura Babcock found in accused killer's home, jury hears

Detectives who seized evidence during the search for Laura Babcock, who disappeared in July 2012, testified Friday at the Toronto murder trial of Dellen Millard and Mark Smich.

Co-accused Dellen Millard and Mark Smich have pleaded not guilty to 1st-degree murder

Laura Babcock, a University of Toronto graduate, was couch-surfing the summer she disappeared, travelling with a number of suitcases and her little dog as she moved from place to place. (Toronto Police Service/The Canadian Press)

A bright red Roots duffel bag with Laura Babcock's name and address handwritten on a little white ID tag was found in the bedroom of accused killer Mark Smich.

Toronto police forensics officer, Kim Seguin, who seized the bag brought it into the courtroom and held it up for jury members this morning, at the ongoing trial into Babcock's alleged murder.

Linda Babcock, Laura's mother, reached for tissues and wiped away tears at the sight of her daughter's bag.

The prosecution alleges Babcock was killed by Millard, 32, of Toronto, and his onetime best friend Smich, 30, of Oakville, Ont., at Millard's home on July 3, 2012. Both have pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder.

Court has heard Millard was sleeping with a number of women, including Babcock, and that her killing may have been motivated by a love triangle.

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Millard was in a long-term relationship with another Toronto woman, Christina Noudga, at the time.

Laura Babcock's red Roots duffel bag was seized during a police search of Mark Smich's home. (Court exhibit)

The red bag

Babcock was 23 when she vanished.

She'd been couch-surfing, after arguing with her parents about curfew.

A number of witnesses have testified that Babcock often travelled with all of her belongings — including a number of suitcases — and her little dog, a Maltese named Lacey.

Seguin took the jury through a series of photos taken during a search of Smich's mother's home in December 2013.

The red bag, along with Babcock's name and home address written on an ID tag, were featured in a number of the pictures.

Another photograph taken by Toronto police after Babcock's duffel bag was seized from Smich's home in 2013. (Court Exhibit)

The black iPad

A black iPad, also seized from Smich's mother's home, also came under heavy scrutiny Friday.

A computer forensic analyst with the Ontario Provincial Police, who testified Friday, told jury members while the iPad was named "Mark's iPad," an email address connected to Millard appeared on a number of the applications.

Dellen Millard, left, and Mark Smich, right, are accused of first-degree murder in the death of Laura Babcock. (Facebook, Instagram)

During cross-examination, Millard, who is acting as his own lawyer, pressed Michael Ryder about email addresses.

"Anybody who wants to create a Hotmail account, all you would need is an internet connection ... and you make up an address. There's no ID verification involved in the process?" Millard asked.

Ryder said it depends, some services require a second email address to prove a person's identification.

Millard then asked whether the iPad had a password. Ryder said he found no security whatsoever on the device.

"So the fact that there are certain email accounts connected to the device doesn't really mean anything?" Millard asked.

"It's like keys to a car, anyone can hop in and drive it."

A point Smich's lawyer, Thomas Dungey, tried to reinforce.

"You can't tell who is sending the messages though, regardless of who the account belongs to?" he asked.

The analyst agreed.

Serial numbers match

During opening statements on Oct. 23, the prosecution said Smich's iPad originally belonged to Babcock, a gift from her former boyfriend, Shawn Lerner, alleging the iPad was renamed "Mark's iPad" in early July after she was killed.

On Friday, Justice Michael Code made it clear to the jury that the serial number of Babcock's iPad matched the one seized from Smich's home.

One of a series of photos taken of the iPad seized from Mark Smich's mother's Oakville home in May 2013. (Court exhibit)

Court has also previously heard about rap lyrics that were found in the device's Notes app, written in late July, that read:

The bitch started off all skin and bone

now the bitch lay on some ashy stone

last time I saw her's outside the home

and if you go swimming you can find her phone.

A video of Smich, a wanna-be rapper, rhyming the lyrics has been played several times for the jury, but so far has not been entered as an exhibit.

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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.