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Police Thought Her Boyfriend Had Murdered Her But The Truth Left Everyone In Shock— Alicia Ross

True Crime

By Based On a True StoryPublished about a month ago 9 min read

On September 20, 2005, a man entered the headquarters of the regional police in York, Canada, and made a surprising confession: according to him, he had killed Alicia Ross, a young woman who had been missing for more than a month.

But who was this boy and why did he end up with Alicia’s life? And most importantly, where was the body?

To understand this case, I’m going to start by talking about Alicia Ross born on February 8, 1980 in Markham, a city in Ontario that is located about 30 kilometers from Toronto.

When she was very young, Alicia was adopted by Marvin and Sharon Ross who felt authentic devotion to her. Her life with their adoptive parents was very happy, and although over time the couple ended up separating, they did everything possible to remain a united family.

Everyone says that she was a bright and adventurous young woman, who loved the outdoors. Her great passion was traveling and canoeing. She liked it so much that she came to work as a volunteer in a local camp to introduce children to this sport.

After graduating from the University of Montreal, she dedicated herself to traveling and then got a position in the sales department of a well-known technology company based in Canada.

So that she didn’t have to pay rent, her mother renovated the basement of the house she shared with Julius, her new husband. In this space Alicia had her own independent entrance which gave her privacy and being close to her family.

With her job, her apartment in the basement and a new boyfriend, life seemed to smile at the 25-year-old girl, in fact her mother went so far as to say that she had never seen her so happy. But unfortunately in August 2005 someone ended her life in a brutal way.

The facts:

On the night of August 16, 2005, Alicia and her mother took the dogs for a walk. The girl was very excited because she had just found out that she was going to get a promotion and that it would be announced the next day. Sharon was not surprised, because her daughter was very hardworking and deserved this recognition.

Later her 29-year-old boyfriend Sean Hine went to the house to celebrate the good news. The couple had been dating for two months and it seemed that things were going well between them. That August night they spent time in the basement apartment. At one point Sharon went down the stairs to borrow Alicia a bag and chatted with her and Sean for a while before returning to the main house to go to bed.

At about midnight the boy decided to leave. Alicia went with him to his car and after a goodbye kiss she returned home. That would be the last time Sean would see his girlfriend alive.

After 15 minutes Sean arrived at his apartment and the first thing he did was call Alicia to say good night, but she didn’t answer the phone. The boy imagined that she would have already fallen asleep and didn’t care about it, but the next morning when he tried to contact her, he did worry about not receiving a response. Alicia was one of those who always answered, even working so this indicated that something bad had happened.

Sean waited a few hours to see if she called him back. Since he didn’t do it, he went to his girlfriend’s house to make sure she was okay.

Once there he observed several strange things: On the one hand the girl’s car was still parked outside and on the other when he knocked on the door no one opened it. Looking around the house, Sean realized that the entrance to the backyard was open, and thrown randomly in the grass there was a cigarette, an empty glass and a pair of Alicia’s shoes.

The boy called 911 and then Sharon, the mother, who immediately ran from work.

When Sharon arrived, she found the house full of police officers. Although Alicia wasn’t in the basement apartment, what they saw there was quite disturbing... The girl’s ring was next to the bathroom sink as if she had been getting ready to go to bed. Her dirty clothes were folded and the bed made. But not only that, her bag, the phone, the cigarettes and the keys were on the table. It was as if the young woman had vanished into the air.

The following days, several search teams toured the area around the family’s house in Markham. They also deployed K-9 units to cover as much land as possible, and police helicopters surrounded the city.

Hundreds of volunteers showed up to help in the search, there were so many that the police had to reject some. The search was so great that it was broadcast on the most wanted television program in America.

For her part, Sharon appeared in the local news and delivered a message in tears to her daughter.

The investigation:

On August 22, the police decided to reduce the search. Inspector Tom Carrique of the York Regional Police stated that Sean was not suspicious, he was only a witness with valuable information for them. To this he added the following:

“Although there is no evidence to suggest foul play... we are focusing on the possibility that there is foul play and that it is responsible for its disappearance.”

However, public opinion had the focus on Sean since he was the last person who saw Alicia on the night of her disappearance. This was very hard for the boy, and much more when he was arrested for driving drunk because he was pointed out even more.

Finally, the investigators considered Sean a person of interest in the case. For this reason they talked to his neighbors and asked them if they had observed any suspicious behavior... Specifically if they had seen him take out the trash at untimely hours. But the thing didn’t stop there because they also searched their country house in Haliburton, several hours away from Markham. Despite all this, they didn’t find anything against him and had to completely rule him out.

On August 25, the agents who handled the case announced that for them. Alicia Ross was not only a missing person, but had been kidnapped, probably by someone she knew. From here they established a telephone line so that people who had information could talk directly to them. It is true that there were hundreds of calls but none of them were useful.

As the weeks went by, the police continued to explore all possible clues. Sharon once again went to the media, begging for the return of her daughter.

“I would give my life just for her to come home. I’m not even looking for a punishment, you know? I don’t wish anyone bad. Just her return. That’s all I want.”

On September 20, 2005, a month after the disappearance, a man entered the headquarters of the regional police in York and made a surprising confession: he had killed Alicia Ross.

The confession:

The man was 31-year-old Daniel Sylvester and lived in the house next to Alicia. With his lawyer present, Daniel told the investigators what happened in the early morning of August 17 just after the girl said goodbye to her boyfriend.

According to Daniel, at 1:30 a.m. he met Alicia in the small alley between their house. Suddenly the girl confronted him and asked him what he was doing out there. Daniel replied that he had the same right as her to be there and they started arguing. At one point Alicia called Daniel a “loser” and quoting the boy’s words “lost his mind.”

Daniel slapped Alicia, threw her to the ground and started hitting her. While she fought against him, grabbing his hair and kicking his ribs. Enraged, Daniel stuck his knee in her chest and hit her head against the pavement again and again. When he finally regained control, he realized that Alicia was no longer breathing.

In the recorded interview with the police, Daniel recreated the scene for the detectives, crouching on the floor of the interrogation room and demonstrating how he immobilized Alicia.

“She wasn’t breathing. She stopped fighting. She just stayed there... I panicked... I didn’t know what to do... I knew I was in serious trouble.”

Then he confessed that he dragged the body through the yard to his garage and went out again to clean the blood with the garden hose.

When he finished, he lined the trunk of his mother’s car with cardboard, placed Alicia’s body inside and wrapped her head with rags and adhesive tape to stop the blood.

To remove more remains, he took Alice’s clothes and her own, placing everything in garbage bags before going in to take a shower. At about 5 am, Daniel drove with Alicia’s body to the north and left her in a swampy area near the small town of Manila along with the bags.

But here he made a mistake. Apparently inside the clothes he threw away was his wallet with his driver’s license and bank cards. Daniel admitted that he had returned to the site several times to try to recover his belongings, but he could not find them.

In his statement to the police, the subject also said that a few weeks later ending Alicia’s life, he returned to Manila to move her body for fear of being discovered. At that time, the remains were in an advanced state of decomposition, which made their task very difficult. According to Daniel, he collected all the remains he could and covered them with a tarp in the back of his truck to leave them in Coboconk, a small logging town.

Daniel Sylvester took the investigators to the place where he left Alicia’s remains. Due to the level of decomposition, the forensic doctor could not determine the cause of death, but reports indicated that at least 30 of the girl’s bones had been fractured, including most of the ribs.

With all this, Daniel Sylvester was accused of second-degree murder, something that left the community in shock since suspicions were always focused on Sean, the boyfriend. In addition, Daniel was rarely seen in the neighborhood; Alicia’s mother declared that she had not seen him much and that they had never acted. Even so, she had no idea that her neighbor was able to commit such a horrible act.

The trial:

In May 2007, that is, almost two years after Alicia’s death, Daniel Sylvester was tried for her murder. For three long weeks, a jury heard testimonies, reviewed evidence and saw the video-recorded confession in which Daniel described the girl’s last moments. The accusation stated that Daniel had been harassing Alicia and that he intended to kill her when his attack began.

On the other hand, the defense portrayed Daniel as a loner on the margins of society, someone who had suffered rejection and intimidation at the hands of others throughout his life. He was extremely sensitive due to his low self-esteem so when the girl called him a loser he broke and lost control.

The defense psychiatrist exposed Daniel’s history of depression and anxiety, something he had been treated for since he was a child.

But not only that, he also said that he had a history of disturbing behavior, including a type of voyeurism, which he called “creepy and strange.” Even so, he saw in him a sincere remorse.

The accusation was clear, someone who feels genuine remorse does not cover up a crime and hides a body several times.

Finally, on May 29, 2007, after only four hours of deliberation, the jury found Daniel Sylvester guilty of second-degree murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of probation after 16 years.

Once the verdict was known, Sharon read a statement on behalf of the family with gratitude to the jury for their work.

“The pain of our loss will never disappear. She is with us every day, but you believed in the truth and issued a verdict that now helps us all to move towards the day when we hope the memories are of happy and precious moments, instead of painful reminders of how Alicia died.”

In the years after Alicia’s death, her family has worked hard to keep her memory alive. For them they created a commemorative fund that bears her name and that helps young people at risk of exclusion. Among the different activities for these boys are canoe trips through the Algonquin Provincial Park, one of Alicia’s favorite outdoor places.

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About the Creator

Based On a True Story

Hi everyone! My name is Marta and every week I write about true crime, always with an educational purpose.

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