The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Father recounts calling police when daughter went missing at Langley murder trial

Stephen Rosa was testifying at the murder trial of his ex-wife

WARNING: This story may contain disturbing content

The trial of a Langley woman accused of killing her daughter heard on Thursday from the girl’s father about the last time he saw her before her death.

Stephen Rosa testified about dropping off Aaliyah on July 22, 2018 to spend the day with her mother, KerryAnn Lewis. It was part of their normal Sunday routine.

“I remember Aaliyah gave me a different look than she usually did,” Rosa said.

Lewis is charged with first degree murder in Aaliyah’s death.

At the outset of the trial, which began in October, Crown counsel said they would attempt to show that Lewis sedated and then drowned her daughter, seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa, in a bathtub in Lewis’s Langley apartment. She had been upset for years over limited custody of her daughter, according to multiple witnesses, had broken up with her boyfriend earlier that day, and had $15,000 tied up in a “gifting cloud” she couldn’t get back.

The trial has already heard from the people who discovered Aaliyah’s body, Lewis’s ex-boyfriend, several friends, and police officers.

Crown lawyer Christopher McPherson asked Rosa about Aaliyah’s health on the day of her death, and he said she hadn’t been ill for about a year before that.

McPherson asked if Aaliyah ever took medications on her own.

“No, never,” Rosa said.

“Generally, what was her health?” said McPherson.

“Very healthy,” Rosa said. “Very active, very busy.”

On Thursday, the court heard played a number of videos taken by Lewis during her pick ups and drop offs of Aaliyah for scheduled visits.

Aaliyah often cried when being returned to her father, not wanting to leave her mother.

Lewis could be heard shouting at Rosa to stay back and keep his distance from her in the parking lot of the Langley Events Centre where they often exchanged Aaliyah on Sundays.

Rosa said he was often reluctant to stay back, as he didn’t want Aaliyah running across the parking lot without adult supervision.

The day Aaliyah died seemed normal, but at 5 p.m., Lewis did not turn up for the return. Rosa said he thought Lewis might have mixed up the time – Aaliyah’s visits had been two hours longer recently, as Lewis’s mother, Aaliyah’s grandmother, was visiting and the time was extended to give them extra time together.

But when Rosa returned to the parking lot at 7 p.m., Lewis and Aaliyah still weren’t there.

“That’s when I phoned the police the first time,” said Rosa.

He said he was worried because of past statements by Lewis.

“She had stated that she would basically take Aaliyah’s life and her life,” said Rosa.

At that point, it had been a year or more since Lewis had said something like that, he said.

“She would never ever say it directly like that, it was always indirectly, I guess.”

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

He did not know where Lewis was living at the time – she had moved to a new apartment less than a month before Aaliyah’s death.

Later that evening, RCMP officers and victim services arrived at his home to tell him his daughter was dead.

McPherson also asked about Rosa’s extremely difficult relationship with his ex-wife. McPherson asked if she’d said anything about his character.

“Non-stop accusations of being racist, accused me of being on drugs, can’t remember exactly what else, possibly accusing me of having affairs,” Rosa replied.

McPherson pointed to text messages from Lewis to Rosa, accusing Rosa of being a “cokehead,” a bully, and violent towards women.

He said none of that was true.

“Did you want Aaliyah to have no contact with her mother?” McPherson said.

“No, that’s not correct.”

Rosa’s testimony has yet to conclude. On Friday, the court heard from Dr. Lisa Steele, the pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Aaliyah.

Rosa is expected to return to conclude his testimony next week.

Due to coronavirus exposures affecting some witnesses, the trial has taken longer than expected, and will run into December.

CourtIHITLangleymurder

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

Just Posted

Someone bought a lottery ticket worth $4.2 million in Aldergrove (file)
Lottery ticket worth $4.2 million purchased in Aldergrove

Lotto 6/49 numbers were drawn Saturday

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Jan. 24

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Dale Nordal photographed a frosty scene in late 2020. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)
SHARE: Frosty vista of Mount Baker by Langley City man

Send us your photo showing how you view Langley, and it could be featured in a future edition

On Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, the Township approved a rainbow crosswalk between the school district and RCMP buildings in Murrayville, but did not earmark funds for the project. (Langley Advance Times file)
Out On Patrol police group backs rainbow crosswalk in Langley

Urges supporters to donate to cover cost of $12,000 crossing near main RCMP detachment

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

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

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

sd
VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment Mission, has break-out year

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Most Read