News and Views

Woman and new partner arrested for ‘killing off her estranged husband’s entire family over five years in what police initially thought were a series of freak accidents’

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  • Melissa Merritt and Christopher Fattore of Ontario were arrested last January and charged with first-degree murder
  • They were charged in the deaths of Merritt’s estranged mother-in-law Bridget Harrison and estranged husband Caleb Harrison
  • They were charged this week int he 2009 death of Merritt’s estranged father-in-law Bill Harrison
  • All three members of the Harrison family died in the same house, and police thought Bill and Bridget had died in freak accidents  

A Canadian couple has been charged with killing every member of the woman’s estranged husband’s immediate family.

Melissa Merritt  and Christopher Fattore of Ontario were arrested last January and charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Merritt’s estranged mother-in-law, 63-year-old Bridget Harrison who died in 2010, and 40-year-old Caleb Harrison, Merritt’s estranged husband who died in 2013.

Then, this week, they were also charged with the 2009 death of Bill Harrison – Caleb’s father and Bridget’s husband – this after all three died in the same house over the course of five years.

Melissa Merritt and Christopher Fattore (above) have been charged in the death of her estranged husband and her estranged mother and father-in-law

Merritt’s father-in-law Bill Harrison (above) died in his home in April 2009

Bill’s wife Bridget Harrison (above) died one year later in April 2010, and her death was ruled suspicious

It is still not known what might have motivated these two to allegedly commit these crimes, though prosecutors believe custody of Harrison and Merritt’s two children together played a big role.

The Toronto Star reports that police began investigating in August 2013 following Caleb’s murder.

Police will not release details because of the trial, but say that Caleb died due to asphyxiation, a month after Merritt had filed for join custody of the children.

Merritt, 34, was only able to see the children every second weekend and on select holidays due to an incident in 2009 is which she abducted the children for several months while they were in the care of Bridget.

Bridget had custody while Caleb was serving an 18 month prison sentence for killing a cab driver and injuring four teenagers in a 2005 drunk driving accident that happened a month after he and Merritt, who married in 2003 after having a son and daughter, split.

The children were abducted shortly after Bill’s death in April of that year, a death that was not suspicious and assumed to be a heart attack.

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