Woman behind Stefanie Rengel murder granted unescorted absences from prison

KITCHENER, Ont. — A young woman who sexually blackmailed her boyfriend into killing a 14-year-old girl nearly a decade ago was so consumed with jealousy at the time that she asked him to kill at least two others she perceived as rivals, she told a parole hearing Wednesday.

Melissa Todorovic gave new insights into what led her to orchestrate the killing of Stefanie Rengel as she asked a Parole Board of Canada panel to grant her three unescorted three-day absences from prison — a request the panel granted, saying the 25-year-old had made progress in handling her emotions.

The details from Todorovic came as the parole board panel questioned her on the motivations behind Rengel’s killing.

Intense jealousy and rage, as well as a desire to exert power over her partner, dominated Todorovic’s relationship with David Bagshaw, who carried out the killing at her command, Todorovic said.

“It was a game that we would play continuously,” Todorovic said during the hearing at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ont., where she is held. “I liked to see how much he would do for me.”

Those feelings also played a role in an earlier relationship that ended abruptly after Todorovic told that boyfriend she wanted a girl he was talking to killed, she said.

“My thinking at the time was that if (the girls) were out of the picture, I could be happy with my boyfriend,” she said.

Todorovic had previously maintained that while she had pushed Bagshaw to kill Rengel, she didn’t believe he would actually do it.

The two-member parole board panel authorized Todorovic’s absences to a halfway house, saying the woman had since worked to manage her jealousy, anger and manipulation, but stressed she still needed to work on her self-esteem and other issues.

“While there’s still lots of work for you to do on yourself, you are moving in the right direction,” Lynne VanDaylen said.

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