Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)

Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

WARNING: Details of this story may be disturbing to some readers

An off-duty police officer described what began as an errand with a friend and ended in the discovery of a dead child, this during the second day of testimony in the murder trial of Langley’s KerryAnn Lewis.

Lewis is charged with first-degree murder in the death of her seven-year-old daughter, Aaliyah Rosa. Rosa was found in Lewis’ Langley apartment on July 22, 2018.

On Monday, the Crown prosecutor laid out its case, saying they will attempt to prove that Lewis planned the killing in advance, and sedated Aaliyah with prescription medication before drowning the girl in the bathtub.

READ MORE: Crown says murder of seven-year-old in Langley was planned, deliberate

On Tuesday afternoon, Crown lawyer Christopher McPherson led witness Dwayne Harrison through what he saw that evening.

Harrison, a Lethbridge police officer, was visiting family and friends in Langley that week, and woke up on the morning of July 22 to a text from his friend, Kim Stephany. The two had seen each other at a barbecue just the night before.

Stephany said he had just broken up with his girlfriend, whom Harrison knew slightly, and Stephany needed help getting his things back. He asked Harrison and another friend to come with him when he retrieved some ID and belongings from the apartment.

They decided to go in the evening, Harrison said, because Stephany knew that Lewis had a visit with her daughter, Aaliyah, until 5 p.m. that day.

They arrived to find the door blocked from the inside.

READ MORE: IHIT investigating death of seven-year-old girl in Langley

“Kim basically shouldered the door a couple times, just to open it wide enough for him to squeeze through the opening and enter the apartment,” Harrison testified.

The apartment was hot and dark, with the blinds drawn. Stephany and the others began gathering up items, but Stephany needed some things from a small safe that was in the master bedroom. Lewis was apparently inside the bedroom and didn’t come to the door.

Harrison said they eventually told Lewis they would call the police to gain access to the bedroom.

“I heard what sounded like furniture or something being dragged against the floor,” and the door opened, and Lewis let them in, he said.

Throughout this time, a cellphone in the apartment was ringing repeatedly, over and over, Harrison testified.

He said Lewis did not look well.

“She looked out of it, she looked groggy, and she was talking with a lisp.”

Lewis sounded like she had had her mouth frozen at the dentist, Harrison recounted, recommending at the time that they call paramedics.

“I could not in good conscience leave her like this,” Harrison said.

While this was going on, Lewis was trying and failing to enter the code on the safe.

Harrison testified that Stephany looked at the phone and asked why Lewis’s ex-husband Steve Rosa was calling. The next time he looked at the phone, he asked why the RCMP were phoning her.

“When I heard that, I walked into the master bedroom to see what was going on,” Harrison said.

Lewis answered the phone, and gave confused answers to questions about her address.

“We just want to make sure that your child is okay,” Harrison remembered hearing from the person on the other end of the call.

The only room he hadn’t seen was the master bathroom. Harrison said he pushed the door open and saw a girl lying on her back, in a damp pink bathrobe, with her eyes partly open and glazed-looking.

“She was not breathing. She was cold. She did not have a pulse,” Harrison said.

He did a few chest compressions, and brown liquid came out of the girl’s nose.

A frantic 9-1-1 call, somewhat garbled by bad reception, followed.

In the midst of that call, which was played in court, Harrison said he twice blocked Lewis from running into the bathroom. He believed she was trying to kill herself. Both times he blocked her or pulled her back, and she hit her head on the floor and shook like she was having a seizure.

At the direction of the 9-1-1 dispatcher, they moved Aaliyah’s body into the living room so the dispatcher could give them directions to help her. Minutes later, both police and paramedics arrived, Harrison said.

He didn’t see Lewis, and went back into the bathroom, where he found her floating face down in the tub. He told police, and later saw paramedics wheeling Lewis out of the apartment on a stretcher.

READ MORE: Tree of life to be planted in memory of Aaliyah Rosa

READ MORE: Community pays tribute to Aaliyah Rosa with tree planting, balloon release

Lewis’s defence lawyer, Marilyn Sandford, asked Harrison if, as a police officer, he understood the importance of giving truthful answers as a witness, which he said he did.

Sandford later told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Martha Devlin that she would continue to examine Harrison on Wednesday, as she felt there were significant differences between his statements to the Langley RCMP after the incident, and his testimony in court.

The trial also heard testimony in the morning from police officers about a number of prescription drugs seized from the apartment during the search by members of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CourtIHITLangleyLangley RCMPmurder

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE – British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Masks now mandatory in all public indoor and retail spaces in B.C.

Many retailers and businesses had voiced their frustration with a lack of mask mandate before

Island Health’s acting medical health officer for the central Island says schools are very safe, even after COVID-19 exposure at five schools in Nanaimo-Ladysmith this month. (File photo)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith and Qualicum superintendents ask Island Health about COVID-19 safety at schools

Central Island medical health officer answers questions parents have been asking

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have ruled out fouled play in the death of a woman in Chemainus. (Black Press file photo)
No foul play in death of woman in Chemainus

Police officers make determination after an investigation

Divers gear up at Kin Beach for venture to extract large industrial tires from the waters of Chemainus Bay. (Photo by Kathleen Fenner)
CFB Esquimalt’s Fleet Diving Unit members remove large tires submerged in Chemainus Bay for years

Environmental concerns and deadly hazard for crabs finally alleviated

Numuch Keitlah, left, and Jake Thomas, centre, participate in a Coastal Nations search and rescue exercise off the coast of Vancouver Island in this undated handout photo. The recently operational Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary has more than 50 members from five Indigenous territories who are trained in marine search and rescue. They are on call day and night to respond to emergencies along some of B.C.’s most rugged and remote coastal areas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Jordan Wilson *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Canada’s first Indigenous-led coast guard auxiliary patrols B.C.’s rugged coast

Auxiliary is part of the feds’ $1.5 billion plan to improve marine safety and protect the environment

An Oceana Canada audit of Canadian fish stocks reveals a growing number with critical populations, calling on Fisheries and Oceans Canada to enact existing commitments. (File photo)
B.C.’s declining fisheries the result of poor DFO management: audit

Oceana Canada calls for follow through on government commitments

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Randy Bell. (File photo)
Former northern B.C. mayoral candidate arrested after allegedly refusing to wear mask

Randy Bell handcuffed and given a warning at Bulkley Valley Credit Union in Smithers

James Corden on the Late Late Show talking about BC Ferries on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. (Screenshot)
‘You’ll see it when you see it’: BC Ferries mask graphic gains James Corden’s attention

Turns out, James Corden fans were just as quick as B.C. social media users to pick up on the dual imagery

Andrew Wilkinson addresses a BC Liberal Forestry Rally in Campbell River on Oct. 17, 2020.
Andrew Wilkinson quits as BC Liberal Leader, party to choose interim replacement

Wilkinson had previously said he would stay in his role till a new leader were to be selected

Most Read