A Toronto Police officer who returned evidence to the parents of a murdered toddler — including a stuffed monkey used in the slaying — has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
Keri Deon, the mother of the murdered child, filed a complaint with Toronto Police this year after Det.-Sgt. Henri Marsman returned personal effects from the case in the summer of 2018.
Three-year-old Kayla Klaudusz disappeared from outside her Parkdale apartment building one night during the summer of 1991. Wayne Snowdon, a neighbour in the apartment complex, was later charged and convicted with Kayla’s rape and murder.
Deon contacted Marsman, asking for items belonging to her daughter. Deon says she “suffered terrible psychological harm” after seeing the stuffed monkey Snowdon used to lure her daughter into grave danger.
The stuffed monkey puppet Kayla Klaudsz’s killer used to lure the youngster before her sexual assault and murder in July 1991. The item was in a box of evidence given to the victims mother by Toronto Police. Veronica Henri/Toronto Sun
In Deon’s complaint to the Toronto Police Service, she alleged Marsman showed discreditable conduct and neglected his duty by giving her what she believes is evidence used in a criminal prosecution.
Deon claimed she was only looking for clothing not used as court evidence and a VHS tape of Kayla’s birthday. She said Marsman assured her she had nothing to worry about.
Det.-Sgt. Stacy Gallant, a witness officer in the Toronto Police investigation into the return of the evidence, informed Deon that the belongings returned to her were from a box “prepackaged some time ago when she previously asked for the property back.”
In the report, Marsman told investigators it was a sensitive issue and “I took steps to ensure the property being turned over would be appropriate.”
Keri Deon, mother of murdered youngster Kayla Klaudsz, with a box of her daughter’s belongings on Thursday August 23, 2018. Veronica Henri/Toronto Sun
The report concluded that there was “insufficient evidence” to find “reasonable grounds that misconduct occurred.”
MANDEL: Police mistakenly return evidence to slain tot’s mom
Civil litigation lawyer Davin Charney, who is representing Deon, said his client will sue the police service, claiming negligence and damages for psychological harm.
“They say that they didn’t know [about] the fuzzy monkey… Well, obviously they didn’t look in the box because thsoe things would be apparent and easy to see… They never bothered to contact the lead investigator … he would’ve known the significance of those items.”
Toronto Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.