Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. File photo

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. File photo

Lack of oxygen killed Langley seven-year-old, pathologist testifies

The trial of KerryAnn Lewis continues in New Westminster Supreme Court

WARNING: This story contains disturbing content

Aaliyah Rosa died of an acute lack of oxygen, a pathologist testified Friday in the murder trial of Aaliyah’s mother, KerryAnn Lewis.

Dr. Lisa Steele testified for most of Friday about her examination of Aaliyah’s body, which took place on July 27, five days after the body of the seven-year-old girl was found in Lewis’s Langley apartment.

The Crown said at the outset of the trial that they planned to show that Lewis sedated Aaliyah before drowning her in the apartment bathtub. Lewis has been charged with first degree murder.

Aaliyah appeared to have been a well nourished child of normal development before death, Steele said.

Crown lawyer Christopher McPherson led Steele through testimony about a close examination of several areas of Aaliyah’s body, including injuries that occurred sometime before death.

Steele noted the absence of petechial hemorrhaging on Aaliyah’s eyes or lips. That type of hemorrhaging shows as small spots, where capillaries burst if someone is strangled or choked to death.

READ MORE: Accused wanted to die together with her daughter, witness testifies at Langley murder trial

There was also an absence of injuries to the skin on Aaliyah’s neck.

“No bruising, no scrapes, no abrasions. No injuries,” said Steele.

McPherson asked if Aaliyah had been strangled, would there have been some visible injury to the neck area.

Steele said there are usually abrasions caused by a ligature, and there can be vertical scratches where the victim tries to pry away a rope or hands used in the attack.

There were no ligature marks and no defensive wounds in Aaliyah’s case.

Aaliyah had also suffered some kind of injury that caused brain swelling and a bleed inside her skull. That could have been the result of an impact to the head, or of some kind of seizure, Steele testified.

In addition, she had two bruises on her head, but Steele could not definitively say when those occurred – they could have happened just before death, or 24 hours earlier.

“Any bruising or bleeding is very difficult to date,” she said.

Steele also found damage to a muscle on one side of Aaliyah’s neck.

The girl’s stomach contents included watermelon, and there were no half-digested pills or gel caps, Steele testified.

An examination of a small part of Aaliyah’s brain showed damage consistent with an acute lack of oxygen, said Steele. That part of the brain is particularly susceptible to damage from oxygen loss.

Steele did not conclude her testimony, and is expected to return later in the trial for cross examination by Lewis’s lawyer, Marilyn Sandford.

The trial has been running since late October, and with difficulties calling some witnesses due to COVID-19, is now scheduled to extend into December.

The trial has already heard from multiple witnesses, including the people who discovered Aaliyah’s body and several police officers involved in the investigation.

CourtIHITLangleymurder

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lisa Werring, Surrey Christmas Bureau boss, inside the charity’s new home. (Submitted photo)
‘Toys, toys, toys, we need toys’: Surrey Christmas Bureau calls for donations

‘It’s been a challenging season to say the least. Every day is a new adventure,’ says bureau boss Lisa Werring

Sukhi Sandhu, organizer of Wake Up Surrey. (File photo)
Wake Up Surrey welcomes Lipinski as city’s new police chief

But Surrey Police Service will not solve Surrey’s gang violence on its own, Sukhi Sandhu says

(Photo: Amy Reid)
VIDEO: 2020 Community Leader Awards recognize Surrey’s unsung heroes

They don’t often receive recognition and don’t necessarily have a high profile in the community

Extras in Promises include many who currently serve in uniform in law enforcement, the military and the Canadian Border Services Agency. Contributed photo
Movie traces Punjabi soldiers’ role in battle during Second World War

Surrey director and White Rock councillor participate in film project

THE REAL PHOTO: Linda Annis, executive director with Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers holds a note commonly posted on doors when people go on vacation. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Surrey councillor slams mayor’s slate for doctoring her photo, quote in social media attack ad

Linda Annis says the Safe Surrey Coalition has been running “fake news” and a doctored photo of her in an attack ad on the slate’s twitter account and its Facebook page.

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

Most Read