MANDEL: Love triangle lands killer Melissa Todorovic yanked back to prison
August 30, 2019
August 31, 2019 9:33 AM EDT
Melissa Todorovic, convicted of persuading her boyfriend to kill 14-year-old Stefanie Rengel.
KITCHENER — The puppet master has finally met her match.
And so killer Melissa Todorovic has had her day parole revoked and she’ll remain behind bars for orchestrating the senseless murder of 14-year-old Stefanie Rengel.
Todorovic, 27, had tried to convince the Parole Board of Canada that she had learned her lesson, that she now realizes she should have abided by her day parole conditions and disclosed that she was in the midst of an “unhealthy” love triangle with two ex-cons.
Stefanie Rengel, 14, was fatally stabbed New Year’s Day 2008.
But she kept it a secret, starting a dalliance with a high-risk offender named “Kirk” who she’d met at a group for reintegrating former inmates, signing herself out of her Brampton halfway house and lying about where she was going.
And then, unsatisfied with the sexual prowess of her first paramour, she set her sights on his best friend “Dennis” and started an affair with him, as well.
All the while, playing them against each other as only a cunning puppet master can do.
We’ve all heard this story before, of course. The jealous Todorovic was 15 when she blackmailed her boyfriend David Bagshaw into killing Rengel — whose parents were both Toronto cops at the time but her mom is now a grief counsellor.
David Bagshaw, convicted of killing 14-year-old Stefanie Rengel in 2008.
Todorovic became strangely obsessed with Rengel, who had briefly — and platonically — dated Bagshaw, two years before. After her unrelenting eight-month campaign of phone calls, 50,000 MSN messages and thousands of texts rife with sexual blackmail — “Ur getting blocked until u kill her” — her lovesick boyfriend finally agreed to carry out the plan.
On New Year’s Day, 2008, just days shy of his 18th birthday, Bagshaw lured Stefanie from her East York home and stabbed her six times in the abdomen, ripping through the black sweater her mother had given her for Christmas just days earlier.
He then left her to bleed to death in a snowbank.
All this time later, released after serving only about 11 years of her life sentence for first degree murder, Todorovic is falling back into her old pattern: Playing with people’s lives.
Presteign United Church, Funeral for Stefanie Rengel, Colour Guard Carries coffin of Stefanie to the hearse as family looks on. Sun files)
Parole board hearing officer Shannon Stewart wasn’t falling for any of it: not her mea culpa or Todorovic’s insistence that she should be given another chance, this time at a halfway house in Kingston.
“It’s calculated deception,” Stewart told her, in revoking her day parole. “Within two months, you’re back to your offence cycle (of manipulating men). It’s very, very, very concerning.”
Rengel’s mother, Patricia Hung, said she was relieved by the revocation of Todorovic’s day parole.
“Getting the news that Melissa reoffended badly enough to be taken into custody was shocking,” she said in her victim impact statement. “The fact that Melissa, in just a few short months, was unable to abide by her very limited conditions, raises red flags that are, frankly, terrifying.”
Todorovic was awarded day parole last November under pretty lenient conditions: All she had to do was continue counselling and report any relationships to her parole officer.
Yet almost immediately, she was secretly looking for love in all the wrong places. “I knew it was wrong,” Todorovic admitted. “I didn’t have people to talk to. I liked people complimenting me and giving me attention and didn’t want that to end.”
She even tried to deflect the blame. “Nobody asked me if I was in a relationship,” she said.
That didn’t fly with the hearing officer, who accused her of downplaying her web of lies to everyone from her family to her team of support workers.
“You chose to deceive,” Stewart said.
It was only by happenstance that her clandestine hook-ups were uncovered. Her community parole officer Angela Law told the hearing she was informed by Kirk’s probation officer, who had recognized Todorovic from past media coverage of the gruesome killing.
A search of her room found a Valentine’s Day card from Kirk in which he apologized for not satisfying her and for not treating her well.
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Todorovic’s bail was suspended in March and she was returned to the Grand Valley Institution for Women for violating her conditions. Friday’s hearing was to determine whether her day parole should be permanently revoked — she can reapply in a year — or reinstated under new conditions.
Her parole officer recommended she remain in prison because her failure to disclose that she was involved in not one, but two, relationships and her “manipulating them against one another” show she still presents an undue risk to the public.
The hearing officer agreed — and so in prison she’ll remain.
Todorovic, who has gained weight and cut her hair since her 2009 trial, wiped away tears throughout the hearing but simply stared coldly at Stewart when told she’d be losing her freedom.
Somebody had finally cut her strings.