Tag Archives: Little Girl Lost

Crime Time ~ Breaking Homicide ~ Little Girl Lost

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean

I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts. Let me know if you’ve seen the episode and, if so, what you thought about it.

Have you seen the Investigation Discovery show, Breaking Homicide? I normally don’t care for shows where the case is not solved, but I enjoy Breaking Homicide. The hosts are Derrick Levasseur, a former detective, and forensic psychologist Kris Mohandie. They investigate unsolved murders right before your eyes.

In the first episode, Little Girl Lost, they look into a murder that happened in Central Falls, Rhode Island, where Derrick grew up and worked as a detective.

In 1988, seven-year-old Michelle Norris was taken from a local playground where she was playing with her brothers. Her brothers left her there alone. Her grandma called her in for dinner, but she didn’t come. (Michelle’s mother, Julie, was ill and the grandmother was taking care of the kids) When her grandmother went to look for her, she wasn’t there. Two days later, Memorial Day, her body is found. She’d been sexually assaulted. She was found naked in a secluded, bramble-covered, seldom visited area. Her clothes were laying nearby, neatly folded. In the autopsy, it was determined that dirt had been sucked up in her airways, which indicated her face was being shoved into the ground as she was assaulted. Her brothers were five and ten at the time. The oldest still carries guilt for leaving her alone at the playground.

 

The suspects:

William Norris: Michelle’s father, who was divorced from her mother. Her mother had custody because he’s an alcoholic. Michelle’s mother, Julie, said she didn’t think he had anything to do with it. But, the day she went missing, her brother saw her get in the car and leave with him. The father wrote a letter about what happened that day. He said he picked her up and took her to get candy, which wasn’t unusual. He picked her up weekly. He said he dropped her off at her grandmother’s and told her to go in and let her know she was there, but she wasn’t paying attention. She was looking across the street where her friend was standing on the porch with a man he didn’t know.

Joseph Pelland: A neighbor and the stepfather of Michelle’s best friend, Tammy.

Derrick and Kris visit Marie, the mother of Michelle’s friend. Marie tells them that the day Michelle went missing, her husband at the time, Joe Pelland, suddenly decided to move the family away from the neighborhood. They found out immediately after, that Michelle was missing. She tells them that Joe was abusive. He had perverted sexual proclivities. He had a lot of fantasies he forced Marie to participate in. He had to hurt her in order to enjoy it.  He wanted her to struggle so that he could fantasize about raping her. Marie found out, after she divorced him, that he had been molesting her daughter. He was prosecuted but took a plea bargain and never served time. Michelle played at the house a lot, while Joe was home watching the children, since he didn’t work. He was home alone the day Michelle went missing.

Derrick and Kris then visit Tammy, Michelle’s best friend and Marie’s daughter. She told them that Joe began molesting her when she was five and continued until her mother divorced him. He would hold the back of her neck and stuff her face into the carpet while he assaulted her. He told her that if she told anyone, he would kill her whole family. When Michelle would come over to play, Tammy noticed him rubbing her back and stroking her hair, which was the same thing he would do to Tammy before assaulting her. She would go sit by Michelle to protect her.

Tammy said that she was the one standing on the porch when Michelle’s dad dropped her off. She said the only man who would be standing with her would be Joe, and William knew Joe. So, it’s odd that William said it was a man she didn’t know. Derrick and Kris believe that, since Michelle’s father DID know Joe, yet he claimed in the letter the man standing with Tammy was someone he didn’t know, that he was trying to point the police toward Joe, but didn’t want to name him by name, because Joe Pelland was a dangerous man. So, he was more concerned about saving his own skin than bringing his daughter’s murderer to justice.

Tammy also said that Joe took her to the same place where Michelle’s body was found, and that he assaulted her there as well.

Kris and Derrick learn that Joe has a brother, John, who is in prison and the brother is willing to talk to them. They visit him in prison, and John tells them that Joe told him that he sexually assaulted a little girl named Michelle and murdered her. Joe told him he was assaulting her and he got so excited that he shoved her face into the ground and ended up killing her. John said if it goes to trial, he is willing to testify.

A bounty hunter friend of theirs tracks down Joe. Derrick approaches Joe and lets him know he’s investigating Michelle Norris’ murder. Joe claimed he was not in town when Michelle went missing. He said that he didn’t even know Michelle’s dad, William, which Derrick knows is untrue. He claimed that he didn’t molest Tammy, but he took a deal because he didn’t have the money to fight it. He also claimed he never watched the kids alone, again, a blatant lie. Derrick asked him point blank if he had anything to do with the murder. He said, “Wouldn’t I be in jail if I’d done it?” Derrick told him that he didn’t believe him. Joe said, “What do you have on me?” Derrick said, “I just want you to know, you might be seeing me again.” When Derrick returns to the vehicle where Kris is waiting, he tells him that, as soon as he told Joe that he was looking into the Michelle Norris case, all the color dropped out of his face.

Derrick and Kris talk to Michelle’s mother, to let her know what they’d learned. They assure her they will take all the information they gathered to the police department. Derrick cried when he told the mother details of how the abrasions on her body were from her struggling to breathe and to get away as he sexually assaulted her. Heartbreaking. Hopefully, with this new interest in the murder, an arrest will be made soon and the evil monster (whoever he is), will finally pay for his crimes.

Some viewers criticized them for sharing such horrific details with the victim’s mother. However, they promised her they would share everything they learned. And, for me, I feel that, as a parent, if my child had to actually suffer through something so tragic and horrific, the least I can do is hear about it. Not sure that makes sense, but when I’ve seen shows where the parents wouldn’t sit in the courtroom during testimony about what happened to their child, I’ve had that thought. I know it must be torturous and devastating, but as parents, we’re supposed to take on the pain and suffering of our children. If we can’t be there to protect them, then we should at least suffer learning about what they went through, what their last moments were like. Maybe I’m wrong. What do you think?

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