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2012-06-22 at 01:08

E-book shows Homolka with 3 children, living in Carribean

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By Diana Mehta, The Canadian Press

TORONTO - She horrified the country with her role in the torture and killing of Ontario school girls two decades ago, now she has three children of her own.

Years after her case gripped the country, Karla Homolka has been found living in the Caribbean under a different name with a husband and three young children.

The details of her life after 12 years in prison are detailed in an 46-page ebook by journalist Paula Todd, titled "Finding Karla."

"No matter how much we might want to forget Karla Homolka, she never really goes away, she hovers in any courtroom, if you think about it, where somebody is on trial for any kind of child abuse," Todd told The Canadian Press in an interview.

"We needed these answers."

In the early 1990s, Homolka and her then-husband, Paul Bernardo, were convicted of crimes related to the rape and murder of two schoolgirls, Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy.

While Bernardo went on to be sentenced to life in prison, Homolka struck a deal with prosecutors in 1993 to serve 12 years in prison for manslaughter.

She had told investigators earlier that Bernardo abused her and made her a reluctant accomplice to the killings. Videotapes later surfaced, however, showing Homolka had a far more active role in the murders than she had claimed.

"The thing about Karla Homolka, and the reason she persists in Canadians' minds is that she fooled everybody," said Todd. "While I was in discussions with her, I was in conflict. Because on the one hand she appeared to be a really good mother...but I don't think anybody is ever going to believe Homolka."

Little has been known about Homolka's life since she was released from prison in 2005.

For Todd, that lack of information drove her to figure out what had become of the notorious killer ever since she walked free.

Online research for a book about the life of released criminals led her to blog reports of Homolka teaching children in the Caribbean — reports Todd later found were false, but they were a starting point for a deeper search.

After mining the Internet for any scrap of information she could find, Todd decided to follow an obscure lead that led her to the island of Guadeloupe in May.

"The reason I went is because I think it was in the public interest for people to know what had happened to what is widely considered a huge police bungle," she said.

Once there, Todd spent days roving the island until she tracked her down.

When she appeared on Homolka's doorstep unannounced, a day after the convicted killer's forty-second birthday, Todd was allowed inside and spent a tense hour in the apartment.

"The tension started from the moment I realized I had actually found her, and it continued like a tight, tight string, all the way through until I left about an hour later," Todd said of the experience.

"Canadians are worried that she's gone on to repeat the horror. I can't say for sure what she's doing, but I can tell Canadians that she seems to have made a life somewhere else, she has a family and she's still living in confinement."

The confinement refers to what appears to be the closed life Homolka now lives.

"She said to me, 'What makes you think I feel safe?'...She said to me nobody cares about me, people only care about me in a negative way," Todd recalled.

"She knows that Canadians and the world continue to despise her for what she did."

While Homolka didn't appear to display any remorse, or indicate that she was living in any sort of emotional turmoil, Todd said it was made clear that the woman now living under the name Leanne Bordelais didn't want to talk about the past.

"Even though she doesn't want to talk about her life — she hates journalists and she told me that...I thought it was interesting that I was allowed to observe."

Those observations included a tidy, clean home, a seemingly harmonious relationship with her husband and a healthy relationship with her three children, one of whom Homolka even breastfed while Todd was in the room.

"She presented as a very good mother, but who knows. I have no reason to believe that those kids are not well cared for."

It is in the hopes of keeping those children happy that Todd said she would not reveal Homolka's exact address, nor publish the names of her children.

"Do I have warm feelings towards her? Absolutely not," Todd emphasized. "I was completely neutral. There's so much opinion about this, it's so caustic and it's so painful that I didn't want to get in the way of reporting to Canadians."

Todd's ebook is published by the Canadian Writers Group and is available on Kindle Singles, Kobo, iBooks and Nook for $2.99.

Her experience tracking down and meeting with Homolka will later be included as part of her upcoming book, "Inside Out."

"This was about the fact that Karla Homolka disappeared but she never went away," Todd said of her work. "I wanted to get some answers...so Canadians can make up their own minds."
 

The Canadian Press
© The Canadian Press, 2014

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