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Former Foster Girl Killed
December 2, 2011 permalink
A girl who grew up in and out of Manitoba foster care turned to prostitution and was murdered in Toronto on November 29. She was Leanne Josephine (Amanda) Freeman.
Winnipeg woman shot dead in Toronto was sex-worker; cops issue warning
A Winnipeg woman found bleeding on the street near Toronto's waterfront this week was a sex-trade worker who had been shot in the head, police said Thursday.
Det.-Sgt. Brian Borg said tips suggest Leanne Freeman, 23, had been working the streets for “some period” of time.
However, Borg said he could not link her killing to her work.
“I cannot say with any certainty whatsoever that Leanne's employment has anything to do with her murder,” he said.
“I am also unable to say at this time that it does not - I cannot rule it out.”
Borg said police were warning sex-trade workers to protect themselves.
A badly wounded Freeman was found lying in the middle of a road, and died early Tuesday after being taken to hospital.
Earlier this week, her aunt said Freeman had led a hard life, growing up in and out of foster care and grappling with drug addiction.
Mariann Freeman, who lives in Alberta, said her niece didn't deserve to die the way she did.
“It doesn't matter what somebody does, no matter what the crime was,” Freeman said.
“Who could bring themselves to putting a gun to that beautiful girl's head and pulling the trigger on her?”
Freeman was facing drug possession and trafficking charges in Winnipeg in June along with possessing property obtained by crime.
A warrant was issued for her arrest after she failed to appear in court.
Borg said Freeman led a transient lifestyle and had a history of drug use.
She faced drug charges in York Region but did not have a criminal record, he said.
While her family is from Winnipeg, Freeman moved to Toronto during the summer and may have slept in shelters as far away as in Sudbury, Ont., he said.
Police are appealing for information about her whereabouts in the days leading up to her death.
Source: Metro News
High-priced prostitute Kera Jane Gray Freeland went missing from Toronto on January 15 after reporting to her roommate that she was having a bad date. Her body was found in Caledon on March 17. She spent her early years in foster care, was adopted at age 7, moved to a group home at age 14 and died at age 20. Her ADHD diagnosis likely means she was drugged.
‘Somebody knows something,’ says mother of deceased escort
It’s been almost three months since Kera Freeland’s body was found in a ditch in Caledon, and yet there are still no answers about how she died or who could be responsible.
In an exclusive interview with the Toronto Star, Freeland’s adoptive mother spoke for the first time Thursday and shared pictures of her daughter as she appealed for more information on Kera’s death at age 20.
“Somebody knows something,” Denise Freeland said from Calgary, where she works in the oil and gas industry. “I don’t believe she was likely to take her own life. She didn’t get there by herself. She didn’t drive and didn’t even have a driver’s licence.”
Kera, whom her mother described as a vivacious young woman who loved people and animals and showed artistic talent, had started working for a Toronto escort agency in December and was last seen by friends in mid-January. A friend of Kera’s notified police that Freeland was missing.
The young woman’s body was found March 17. Denise still remembers getting the dreaded phone call.
“I was pretty much in shock,” she said.
Kera had told her mother she was working in modeling. But it was no surprise to her mom that she went astray through her adolescent years and showed a wanderlust.
“Did she make some bad choices? Yes,” Denise said. “We were afraid for her.”
But Kera had a “positive attitude” that made her adorable, especially among children who would seek her out.
Denise and her husband adopted Freeland as an “endearing little girl” with a gift for art when she was 7. They had also adopted a son who was 12 when Kera joined the family.
Prior to her adoption, Kera had experienced much change and much loss after her birth mother, a struggling divorced woman with two children, gave her up for adoption. She moved from one foster home to another.
Diagnosed with ADHD early on, she displayed extremes in emotions and was more vocally angry than other children.
But Denise and her husband saw so much that was positive about Kera. She loved studying and sought the approval of her teachers. She loved to ride horses, but didn’t like to tell the horses what to do “because that was mean.”
And she learned a passion for travel after her parents took her to England, France and California.
However, Freeland’s independent streak and strong emotions eventually led her to leave home at 14, when she moved into a group home.
When Freeland showed an interest in recreational drugs, her family and social workers tried to intervene and were met with her hot temper.
Another problem that may have put her in harm’s way: “She believed the best in people and until the day she died she never believed anyone would hurt her,” Denise said. “She wasn’t afraid of anything.”
After Freeland left home, she and Denise stayed in touch. But as the young woman became more adventurous, their personal contact became less frequent.
Denise last heard from Freeland in mid-December, when her daughter texted her. “Hi, Mom. I’m in Toronto. I’m doing some modelling. Love you. Merry Christmas.” No indication she was having problems.
The next time she saw her daughter, Denise was in Toronto claiming her body.
She never saw Freeland in the casket, nor did any other friends. She was advised not to look.
Denise doesn’t know how she died, but she hopes the answers will come.
The Ontario Provincial Police have assured her that this is an active case and police are withholding some information to protect the integrity of the investigation.
The OPP’s homicide detectives have said that they are still awaiting test results to determine the cause of death. Her death has not officially been classified a homicide. It’s possible Freeland’s body was in the Caledon ditch for up to two months.
The escort agency she worked for, Cachet Ladies, put out a news release shortly after Freeland’s death to say she worked with the agency from Dec. 6 to Dec. 20. She told the agency she would be travelling to British Columbia to undergo treatment for cervical cancer, but would be back.
If Freeland had cervical cancer, Denise didn’t know about it. She also didn’t know if she was pregnant, as a close friend indicated.
Freeland recalls her daughter as a beautiful woman who loved to read and had such a gift for words that she thought that Kera “would have been a really good lawyer.”
Denise adds, “But someone helped take away her choices, her chance to grow up and mature and took away her potential. Right now, I’ve got to show some faith that the police are doing everything they can.”
Source: Toronto Star
Addendum: We amended the headline after a reader pointed out that identifying the victim as "foster/prostitute" was disrespectful of the woman involved.