Girl, 6, found dead, foul play suspected
By Rosemarie Boyle
Globe and Mail
May 15, 1975
Metro Police suspect foul play in the death of a 6-year-old girl found yesterday in Etobicoke Creek hours after her mother left her miles away at school.
Tracey Ann Bruney of St. Clair Avenue West was discovered at 1 p.m. in the creek near the bridge at Lake Shore Road. She was pronounced dead on arrival at Queensway General Hospital.
The girl’s mother told police she dropped the child off at the schoolyard of St. Clare Separate School t 8:55 a.m. yesterday. The school is on Northcliffe Boulevard in the St. Clair Avenue and Dufferin Street area.
The child was not in class when the bell rang at 9 a.m., her teacher told police.
The parents, Earl Chambers and his young wife, Merle, interviewed early this morning after six hours of questioning at No. 21 Division in Etobicoke, said they were completely shaken.
“We have no enemies. i don’t know how something like this could have happened to us. I keep asking myself ‘Why'” Mr Chambers, a machine operator, said in the family’s one-bedroom walkup apartment.
Mrs. Chambers, still wearing a scarf over pink sponge rollers in her hair, tried with difficulty to light a cigaret.
“She was such a good little girl and so happy..” I questioned her this morning and she said she liked school and she liked her classmates. I don’t know what to believe.”
She left Tracey at school at 8:55 a.m., seconds before the bell rang. When the child did not return for lunch she began to worry.
“The next thing we knew we were at the police station.” Mr Chambers said.
Tracey was Mrs. Chamber’s child from a previous marriage.
Mrs. Chambers and Tracey came to Canada from Dominica when the child was 10 months old. The family recently moved from Rexdale.
While her husband was in the bedroom, Mrs. Chambers sat on the sofa with her face in her hands and worried about the cost of a funeral.
“I don’t know where we will get the money. I’m not working and we don’t know how we’ll afford it. Do you think the Government pays for things like this?”
In a flat emotionless voice, she said “Why would someone do this?”
“All the questions…How would we know why it happened”
Herbert Howard, principal at the school, said last night Tracey had only been a pupil at St. Clare since April 28.
“The school is about 500 yards from her home so it is doubtful that someone would take her from school,” he said.
“She got along very well with other kits and fitted right in. She seemed to enjoy school and her teacher said she was a good student.”
The family’s apartment, situated above a restaurant, was guarded last night by police on the stairs leading up to the apartment and on the street outside.
Police went to the restaurant below several times to question the staff and patrons. Inside the apartment police searched every room.
Police refused to say where the child’s mother was. Police reports that shew as being interviewed in No. 14 station on Eglinton Avenue proved false.
An autopsy performed last night indicated the girl died of drowning police said.
Mrs Chambers is a housewife. The couple have a 3-year-old daughter, Terri.
Last night Terri, who had accompanied her parents while they awaited the postmortem results, stood in the middle of the crowded livingroom as though in a daze. She looked up at the two uniformed policemen in wonder as her parents searched the apartment for a picture to give police and reporters.
Police ask anyone who may have seen the girl in the schoolyard or elsewhere to call the duty inspector at 567-2347.
She is described as black, four feet tall, weighing 53 pounds and having short brown hair. She was wearing a cream-colored short spring coat, blue jeans, a blue long-sleeved T-shirt and white sandals.
Globe and Mail, Friday May 16, 1975
Police say girl beaten before death
Metro homicide police believe 6-year-old Tracey Ann Bruney was severely beaten on the head and thrown into Etobicoke Creek where she was found on Wednesday. An autopsy revealed the child died by drowning. Her body was discovered by Mark Norrie, 13, of Lake Shore Road East at 13, of Lake Shore Road East at 1:05 p.m. while he was playing in Marie Curtis park. The body was in 18 inches of water near a bridge at Lake Shore Road. She was fully clothed and had not been sexually molested, police said.
The girl disappeared Wednesday after her mother, Merle Chambers of St. Clair Avenue West, left her in the schoolyard of St. Clare Separate School on Northcliffe Boulevard, about 500 yards from the family’s home, police said. She was found dead 10 miles away. Police said they have no suspects.
Toronto Star, May 20, 1975
SLAIN GIRL’S PURSE FOUND NEAR SCHOOL
The black plastic purse in which 5-year-old Tracey Ann Bruney carried her lunch to school just before she disappeared last Wednesday was found in a yard at the weekend, police said today.
The girl’s body was found about 1 p.m. the day she disappeared, about 120 miles away in Etobicoke Creek at Marie Curtis Park. Police have offered a $2,000 reward for information leading to the person or persons suspected of killing her.
An autopsy showed she had drowned, but before death ha d received a number of bruises and cuts on her head and neck.
The purse was found in a yard on Northcliffe Blvd. near St. Clare Separate School where Tracey was a kindergarten pupil.
Globe and Mail, May 21, 1975
Bag was dead girl’s, Metro police find
Metro police have confirmed a black school bag found on Monday in a Northcliffe Boulevard backyard belonged to Tracey Ann Bruney, 5, who was beaten and left to drown in Etobicoke Creek last Wednesday.
Staff Sergeant Jack McBride of the homicide squad said there is no doubt in his mind that the vinyl shoulder bag is the one Tracey used to carry to her kindergarten class at St. Clare Separate School on Northcliffe Boulevard. The bag was found less than a block from the school.
Her parents, Earl and Merle Chambers of St. Clair Avenue West, will be asked to identify the bag today.
Tracey was buried yesterday after a service at St. Anne’s Anglican Church on Gladstone Avenue. About 35 people, including the principal and teachers from her school, attended.
Today, police will canvass residents on Northcliffe Boulevard, which is near St. Clair Avenue West and Dufferin Street, and near the creek for new leads. Thus far, there are no suspects, police said.
Police have e offered $2,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the child’s killer.
Tracey was last seen by her mother, who took her to school at 8:55 a.m. last Wednesday. Four hours later she was found 10 miles away in the creek. in Marie Curtis Park. An autopsy revealed she had been severely beaten and drowned.
Toronto Star, May 30, 1975
$5,000 REWARD OFFERED IN GIRL’S DROWNING
A $5,000 reward is now being offered for the arrest and conviction of whoever beat Tracey Anne Bruney, 5, and threw her into Etobicoke Creek to drown.
The little girl disappeared May 14 after her mother, Mrs. Earl Chambers of St. Clair Ave. W., dropped her off at school. Her body was found later that same day about 10 miles from the school, and police are seeking anyone who can help p them track down how the girl got from the school to Marie Curtis Park.
The increased reward, up from $2,000, was approved yesterday by the Board of Police Commissioners.
Toronto Star, May 1, 1976
Little Tracey Ann Bruney’s bruised body was pulled out of the water in Etobicke Creek on May 14 last year, less than four hours after she disappeared.
The pretty 5-year-old had been drowned – deliberately in about 18 inches of water under the bridge of Lakeshore Blvd.
She was taken there, police believe, after being abducted near St. Clare School at Northcliffe Blvd and St. Clair Ave. W., where she should have attended a morning kindergarten class. She was seen alive a few minutes before class started.
Tracey was then taken more than 10 miles across town and murdered in the creek in Marie Curtis Park.
Tracey, just 3 feet 7 inches tall and weighing only 43 pounds, was seen face down in clean water by a young boy playing in the park about 11:30 a.m. He dashed home and told his mother, who called police.
Homicide detectives believe someone may have seen Tracey as she was being taken across town to her death. She was wearing a gray-green cloth, hip-length coat with button4d front, dark blue turtleneck sweater, medium-blue corduroy slacks, white socks and white striped sandals.
The child, who wore her born, short curly hair in braids, was carrying a black vinyl shoulder-strap bag, 6 inches by 8 inches.
“She was a cute little kid,” said one detective. “We can’t imagine any reason for this killing. She had not been molested.”