When the body of nine-year-old Sharin’ Morningstar Keenan was discovered in a rooming house refrigerator on February 1, 1983, a family and a neighbourhood were devastated and a suspect, Dennis Melvyn Howe, went on the run. Nearly three decades later, CBC News’ David Ridgen has collaborated with Sharin’s mother Lynda to re-examine the case and build a portrait of her daughter through her artwork, writing, recordings and previously unseen photographs. Canadian Cold Case Episode 3: Sharin’ airs on CBC Radio One’s THE CURRENT on Friday, March 12 at 8:30 a.m. (9 NT) and on CBC NEWS: THE NATIONAL on Sunday, March 14 at 10 p.m. (10:30 NT) on CBC Television and 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBC News Network.
Lynda Keenan wanted to dispel the stereotypical image of a nine-year-old girl, which the media coverage presented at the time of Sharin’s disappearance and death. “Sharin’s life was infinitely more interesting than her death,” Keenan says. “And while there’s real hope that Dennis Howe will be found, it’s equally important to recall the light that was extinguished in a little girl who was anything but a victim.”
Together, David Ridgen and Lynda Keenan discover new and surprising information about the case, as well as about suspect Dennis Howe. By building a new profile of Howe through those who knew him best, including his brother and sister and an associate who may have concealed important information for 27 years, the hope is he may finally be found and tried in a court of law.
Canadian Cold Case is a character-driven documentary series that revisits modern-era unsolved crimes involving Canadians. David Ridgen works collaboratively with the victim’s family members and others to return to crime scenes and to hear their stories firsthand, told by those most closely connected to them. The series provides the opportunity to re-investigate tips and other avenues with the potential to generate new information that could re-energize cases. For more information, visit cbc.ca/coldcase.
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. With 28 services offered on Radio, Television, the Internet, satellite radio, digital audio, as well as through its record and music distribution service and wireless WAP and SMS messaging services, CBC/Radio-Canada is available how, where, and when Canadians want it.