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

The Small Works display features work from local artists on wood panels. Panels are available at Ranger Station Art Gallery (File Photo)
Small Works submission deadline approaching

Ranger Station Art Gallery seeks local artists for upcoming display

Signs up at Hope Secondary School inform visitors that the school is a closed campus during the coronavirus pandemic. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
Second COVID-19 exposure at Hope Secondary School

Fraser Health website lists exposure on Nov. 11 and 12

New Chilliwack Chief Ray Fust.
Chilliwack Chief Ray Fust in the mix for Swiss U20 roster spot

Fust is hoping to make the team that will compete in the World Junior Hockey Championships

An employee at a Chilliwack McDonald’s location tested positive for COVID on Nov. 21 (File photo by The Associated Press)
Employee tests positive for COVID-19 at McDonald’s restaurant in Chilliwack

One case was detected at the Vedder Road location, which briefly closed its doors

Contributed graphic/District of Kent
Snow Angels seek volunteers

As winter is coming, volunteer shovelers are wanted

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

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

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Care home staff are diligent about wearing personal protective equipment when they are in contact with residents, but less so when they interact with other staff members, B.C. Seniors Advocate says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
More COVID-19 testing needed for senior home staff, B.C.’s advocate says

Employees mingling spotted as virus conductor in many workplaces

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Most Read