When Bill and Bridget Harrison suddenly passed away within a year of one another inside their shared family home, their son (an only child, adopted) was left to make sense of what’d transpired. However, as chronicled in NBC’s ‘Dateline: The House on Pitch Pine Crescent,’ little did Caleb Harrison know he’d be next to meet his end at the same suburban Mississauga, Canada, residence. So now, if you wish to learn more about this matter — with a specific focus on his demise, the way all three are linked, as well as its ultimate aftermath — we’ve got the necessary details for you.
How Did Caleb Harrison Die?
Although adopted in 1973 when he was merely six months old, Caleb reportedly never felt like an outsider in the Harrison household because he had parents who not just loved but supported him. That’s why they even took him, along with his two young kids, back in around 2005 after he’d separated from their mother/his wife of 5 years Melissa Merritt following a domestic violence incident. He was reportedly heartbroken by the split, which eventually drove him to alcohol and then accidentally slamming head-on into a taxi with his mother’s Mercedes, killing the driver on the spot.
Caleb, who himself suffered from a broken leg as well as a few bruises, was arrested for impaired driving causing death and bodily harm, for which he received 18 months behind bars in 2009. However, despite his behavior, his dedication as a father never waivered or came into question, propelling even the courts to award him shared custody of his daughter Mecaela and son Mason. This equal custody order was transferred to his doting parents while he was serving out his time at Maplehurst Correctional Complex, yet everything turned upside down almost a month later.
On April 16, 2009, Caleb not only lost his father/his best friend Bill, but his ex-wife also kidnapped their kids, only for them to be found more than seven months later in the Nova Scotia province. While Melissa was charged with parental child abduction, the kids were returned to their father and grandmother — the former had been released on parole on June 15, three months into his term. The family then began trying their best to carry on with their lives, yet things took a turn once again on April 21, 2010, as 63-year-old Bridget was found unresponsive inside their shared home.
According to reports, Caleb slipped into severe depression upon losing his mother, and it would’ve completely broken him if it weren’t for his young ones since he’d also started drinking again. But alas, he too was found dead in the same suburban 3635 Pitch Pine Crescent residence on August 23, 2013 — Mecaela and Mason had been out of harm’s way at Melissa’s the night prior. It was soon confirmed that the 40-year-old father had been beaten with a baseball bat and strangled to death; he had bruising under his chin and throat as well as scratches all across his chest.
Who Killed Caleb Harrison?
While Bill and Bridget’s passings were initially ruled natural or undetermined on a purely medical level, professionals ascertained Caleb’s demise to be an other-party homicide from the get-go. This latter declaration, combined with the mysterious bruisings on the elderly duo’s remains and their overall familial history, is what led officials to quickly reconsider every aspect of the matter. That’s when it came to light that Melissa, who’d seemingly tried to implicate her former husband on record following his mother’s 2010 death, was the only individual with an actual motive.
During her questioning in connection to Bridget’s case, Melissa had reportedly told investigators Caleb did not “have a good relationship with his mom,” and he was physically violent/abusive. In other words, she essentially implied he could’ve slain his own mother in a fit of rage if she’d done something to “piss him off” before stating she “didn’t want to make any assumptions.” As for her motive, at the time of each passing, there were some crucial active elements in the custody battle she was engaged in with the Harrisons, which she could’ve used to keep the kids for herself.
But Melissa didn’t act alone; her then common-law husband Christopher “Chris” Fattore was allegedly involved at nearly every step, whether during the child kidnapping or all the demises. In fact, his DNA was underneath Caleb’s fingernails, and trace evidence of both men’s genetic markup was on the latex gloves recovered from a trash can — Chris’ was inside, whereas Caleb’s was outside. We should mention he and his partner had even incriminated themselves during a conversation in their home, not realizing the authorities had bugged them, leading to their arrest in January 2014.
That’s when Chris confessed to slaying both Bridget as well as Caleb in extensive detail, all the while maintaining he knew nothing about, let alone had anything to do with, Bill’s tragic 2009 passing. He conceded he’d attacked his love’s drunk ex-husband on the night of August 22-23 upon entering the Pitch Pine Crescent residence using the key he’d stolen from the former’s son Mason. He punched a sleeping Caleb in the chest, he said, before throwing him around the room as he begged for his life and offered money in exchange for mercy, yet Chris went on to strangle him anyway.
Ultimately, while Melissa was charged with two counts of first-degree murder concerning Bridget and Caleb’s deaths, Chris was indicted on the same, plus a second-degree murder charge for Bill’s passing. Though in January 2018, the latter was only found guilty of killing the mother-son duo — he was acquitted on the third count owing to a lack of evidence — whereas Melissa was just convicted of her ex-husband’s murder.
Read More: Where is Melissa Merritt Now?