It Was Too Late

by | May 11, 2014 | Death, Forgiveness

It was November 1999 and almost seven in the evening. The end of a long day at work was near. The stress of my new job and the move to a new country wore me out.

I rearranged the papers on my desk, yawned, and prepared to go home to the new townhouse my friend and I found for my family. I couldn’t wait to see the surprise on my wife, Georgia’s, face, when she arrived from Canada the following week with our son and daughter.

My phone rang. I looked at the number, saw it was Georgia, and smiled. She was going to be so happy. “Hi, Hun!”

“Michael?” The tone of her voice gave me a hint that something wasn’t right.

“You’re still at work?”

“Yeah! That’s the way it is here.”

“Michael, I have to tell you something.”

Again, I caught the tone of her voice. Something was wrong. “What is it?”

“It’s Terry.”

Terry was her sister. I felt a knot form in my stomach. “What about her?”

“She’s dead.”

The knot in my stomach dropped lower. “She’s what?”

“She’s dead.” I couldn’t see Georgia’s tears, but I heard them in her voice.

“What do you mean she’s dead?” The knot grew.

“She was murdered,” she said.

The knot was now a lump of lead. It weighted me in my chair. “Murdered?” I couldn’t grasp what Georgia told me. “You mean someone killed her?” It was a dumb question, but I was numb with shock. “How?”

“Michael, they found her …” She paused to gain control. “They found her in her apartment. She didn’t show up for work for a couple days. They called the landlord. He was the one to find her.”

“When did you find out?”

“Just a few minutes ago. We were in the middle of packing for the move and the Laval police called.”

“Oh, Lord! I’m so sorry, Hun. Do you want me to fly home?”

“No! I just want to get through this move and be there with you. They told me her body wouldn’t be released for some time. They need to do a lot to look for evidence.

We’re her only family in Canada. They said a funeral could wait.”

“Georgia, are you sure that is what you want to do?”

“That’s all I can do right now.”

“What do the police say?”

“They don’t know anything yet. They think someone got into her apartment? I have to go. The kids are calling for me.”

“Are they OK?”

“Their both very upset. They loved Terry. They can’t grasp what happened. For that matter, neither can I.”

We hung up. I slumped back in my chair and tried to grasp what I just heard.

The office was empty. Hundreds of empty cubicles surrounded me. The beat of my heart seemed to echo off them.

That night, I lay on my air mattress in our new bedroom and flinched at the smallest noise. Every creak and groan made me think someone was in the house with me.

Several times I woke and searched every room and closet of the barren house. I couldn’t wait for Georgia, our kids, and our furniture to arrive. I never felt so alone in my life.

Police learned a man, posing as a maintenance worker, knocked on doors of Terry’s complex that day. One lady answered her door. The man said he was checking on a water leak and needed to check her apartment. She told him to wait while she called the office. When she returned, he was gone. A second woman said she would get her husband. Like the first, he was gone when they returned.

The man knocked on Terry’s door. She once worked for an apartment management company. She knew the damage water could cause. The man found a weak spot. Terry let him in.

The police said there was a long struggle. Terry fought with her life, which ended that night. When found, she wasn’t recognizable.

In December 1999, police arrested William Patrick Fyfe in Ontario, as he returned to his truck after eating at a restaurant. They had DNA evidence, photos from an ATM machine, where he used Terry’s bank card, and found jewelry he stole from her.

He was charged with the murder of five women. The first in 1981 and the last four in the fall of 1999. Because of the years separating the first from the last, police suspected there were more.

While incarcerated, Fyfe admitted to four more murders. Police suspect he has only admitted to a portion of the crimes he committed

Fyfe serves a life sentence in a psychiatric hospital in Saskatchewan, Canada and serves as a reminder to all women to please be careful to whom you open your doors.

Georgia took a long time to recover. The last time she and Terry were together, they had an argument. In the year before her death, they rarely spoke to each other.

Georgia missed her sister and knew the time for words of apology would never happen.

It was too late.

Michael T. Smith


It Was Too Late