AP Worldstream (March 10, 2004). "Health officer: human remains may have been in meat from farm of alleged serial killer."
AP Worldstream (March 10, 2004). "Report: Human remains possible in meat."
AP Online (March 11, 2004). "Human remains may be in Canadian meat."
Girad, Daniel (June 29, 2004). "Serial murder suspect's trial delayed again; 10,000 pieces of evidence still to be processed Lawyer Pickton, accused in 15 deaths, faces additional charges." The Toronto Star.
Hugner, Trude (June 28, 2004). "Accused Canadian serial killer may face trial in spring 2005." AP Worldstream.
Toronto Star (March 12, 2004). "'Outrage, anger, disgust' over pig farm meat scare."
A pig farmer by trade, Robert William Pickton of Port Coquitlam BC, is currently before the courts charged with the first degree murders of twenty-six women. Pickton is on trial for six of the murders, yet on the first day of his trial it was alleged that Robert Pickton confessed to an undercover cop that he was one kill short of 50. Pickton stated to the police officer that he didn?t get his goal and was only caught because he had gotten ?sloppy?.
Pickton was already known to police for his wild parties thrown on his property under the guise of a registered charity called the Piggy Palace Good Times Society. The non-profit society had an official mandate to ?organize, co-ordinate, manage and operate special events, functions, dances, shows and exhibitions on behalf of service organizations, sports organizations and other worthy groups.? But according to court evidence these events were little more than wild rave parties complete with Downtown East-side prostitutes, who were the favourite target of Pickton.
Pickton was nabbed as part of an investigation into illegal firearms at the property owned by Pickton. Police later obtained a second court search order as part of the larger BC Missing Women Investigation. This was a result of some personal items belonging to a missing woman being found on his property.
Police would later comb every square inch of the pig farm property and others associated with Pickton in search of evidence. Forensic analysis conducted by specialists was very slow and methodical. Evidence of his crimes was hard to nail down as it is alleged that Pickton fed his victims to his pigs. It is also been uncovered that Pickton may have combined human flesh with ground pork from his farm, and later given it out to friends and visitors to the farm.
Pickton pleaded not guilty to all charges of first-degree murder brought against him. The trial is ongoing. Robert Pickton is Canada?s worst serial killer. For the murdered women, the public and law enforcement are left in a bad situation, hoping Pickton will confess to the missing bodies but left without any bargaining leverage to offer. But how far Pickton can leverage these secrets may sour public opinion even more.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Robert William "Willie" Pickton (born October 26, 1949) of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada is a former pig farmer and serial killer convicted of the second-degree murders of six women. He is also charged in the deaths of an additional twenty women, many of them prostitutes and drug users from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. In December 2007 he was sentenced to life in prison, with no possibility of parole for 25 years ? the longest sentence available under Canadian law for murder.
During the trial's first day of jury evidence, January 22, 2007, the Crown stated he confessed to forty-nine murders to an undercover police officer posing as a cellmate. The Crown reported that Pickton told the officer that he wanted to kill another woman to make it an even 50, and that he was caught because he was "sloppy".
On February 5, 2002, police executed a search warrant for illegal firearms at the property owned by Pickton and his three siblings. He was taken into custody and police then obtained a second court order to search the farm as part of the BC Missing Women Investigation, when personal items (including a prescription asthma inhaler) belonging to one of the missing women were found. The farm was sealed off by members of the joint RCMP?Vancouver Police Department task force. The following day Pickton was charged with storing a firearm contrary to regulations, possession of a firearm while not being holder of a licence and possession of a loaded restricted firearm without a licence. He was later released and was kept under police surveillance.
On Friday, February 22, 2002, Pickton was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Sereena Abotsway and Mona Wilson. On April 2, 2002 three more charges were added for the murders of Jacqueline McDonell, Diane Rock and Heather Bottomley. A sixth charge for the murder of Andrea Joesbury was laid on April 9, 2002 followed shortly by a seventh for Brenda Wolfe. On September 20, 2002 four more charges were added for the slayings of Georgina Papin, Patricia Johnson, Helen Hallmark and Jennifer Furminger. Four more charges for the murders of Heather Chinnock, Tanya Holyk, Sherry Irving and Inga Hall were laid on October 3, 2002, bringing the total to fifteen, making the investigation the largest of any serial killer in Canadian history. On May 26, 2005, twelve more charges were laid against him for the killings of Cara Ellis, Andrea Borhaven, Debra Lynne Jones, Marnie Frey, Tiffany Drew, Kerry Koski, Sarah Devries, Cynthia Feliks, Angela Jardine, Wendy Crawford, Diana Melnick, and Jane Doe (unidentified woman) bringing the total number of first-degree murder charges to 27.
Excavations continued through November 2003; the cost of the investigation is estimated to have been $70 million by the end of 2003, according to the provincial government.[dead link] Currently the property is fenced off, under lien by the Crown in Right of British Columbia. In the meantime, all the buildings have been demolished. Forensic analysis was very difficult because the bodies of the victims may have been left to decompose or allowed to be eaten by insects and pigs on the farm. During the early days of the excavations, forensic anthropologists brought in heavy equipment, including two 50-foot (15 m) flat conveyor belts and soil sifters to find traces of remains. On March 10, 2004, it was revealed that human flesh may have been ground up and mixed with pork from the farm. This pork was never distributed commercially, but was handed out to friends and visitors of the farm. Another claim made is that he fed the bodies directly to his pigs.[dead link]
A preliminary inquiry was held in 2003, the testimony from which was covered by a publication ban until 2010. At the preliminary inquiry it was revealed that in 1997 Pickton had been charged with attempted murder in connection with the stabbing of a prostitute. The woman survived and testified at the 2003 preliminary inquiry that after driving her to the Port Coquitlam farm and having sex with her, Pickton slapped a handcuff on her left hand, and stabbed her in the abdomen. She also had stabbed Pickton. Later both she and Pickton were treated at the same hospital, where staff used a key they found in Pickton's pocket to remove the handcuffs from the woman's wrist. The attempted-murder charge against Pickton was stayed on January 27, 1998, because the woman had drug addiction issues and prosecutors believed her too unstable to testify. The clothes and rubber boots Pickton had been wearing that evening were seized by police and left in an RCMP storage locker for more than seven years. Not until 2004 did lab testing show that the DNA of two missing women were on the items seized from Pickton in 1997.
I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one.: LBJ's Ghost
Pickton's trial began on January 30, 2006 in New Westminster. He pleaded not guilty to 27 charges of first-degree murder in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The voir dire phase of the trial took most of the year to determine what evidence might be admitted before the jury. Reporters were not allowed to disclose any of the material presented in the arguments.
On March 2, 2006, one of the 27 counts was rejected by Justice James Williams for lack of evidence.
On August 9, 2006, Justice Williams severed the charges, splitting them into one group of six counts and another group of twenty counts. The trial proceeded on the group of six counts. The remaining 20 counts could have been heard in a separate trial, but ultimately were stayed on August 4, 2010. Because of the publication ban, full details of the decision are not publicly available; but the judge has explained that trying all 26 charges at once would put an unreasonable burden on the jury, as the trial could last up to two years, and have an increased chance for a mistrial. The judge also added that the six counts he chose had "materially different" evidence from the other 20.
Much of the evidence heard during the voir dire phase of the trial in 2006 was never heard by the jury because of rulings by the trial judge. This evidence was covered by a publication ban up until August 4, 2010.
Jury selection was completed on December 12, 2006, taking just two days. Twelve jurors and two alternates were chosen.
The date for the jury trial of the first six counts was initially set to start January 8, 2007, but later delayed to January 22, 2007.
January 22, 2007 was the first day of the jury trial at which Pickton faced first-degree murder charges in the deaths of Marnie Frey, Sereena Abotsway, Georgina Papin, Andrea Joesbury, Brenda Wolfe and Mona Wilson. The media ban was finally lifted and for the first time Canadians heard the details of what was found during the long investigation. In his opening statement, Crown Counsel Derrill Prevett told the jury of evidence that was found on Pickton's property, including skulls cut in half with hands and feet stuffed inside. The remains of another victim were stuffed in a garbage bag in the bottom of a trash can and her blood-stained clothing was found in the trailer in which Pickton lived. Part of one victim's jawbone and teeth were found in the ground beside the slaughterhouse, and a .22 calibre revolver with an attached dildo containing both his and a victim's DNA was in his laundry room. In a videotaped recording played for the jury, Pickton claimed to have attached the dildo to his weapon as a makeshift silencer.
As of February 20, 2007, the following information has been presented to the court:
The items police found inside Pickton's trailer - A loaded .22 revolver with a dildo over the barrel and one round fired, boxes of .357 Magnum handgun ammunition, night-vision goggles, two pairs of faux fur-lined handcuffs, a syringe with three millilitres of blue liquid inside, and "Spanish fly" aphrodisiac.
A videotape of Pickton's friend Scott Chubb saying Pickton had told him a good way to kill a female heroin addict was to inject her with windshield-washer fluid. A second tape was played for Pickton, in which an associate named Andrew Bellwood said Pickton mentioned killing prostitutes by handcuffing and strangling them, then bleeding and gutting them before feeding them to pigs.
Photos of the contents of a garbage can found in Pickton's slaughterhouse, which held some remains of Mona Wilson.
In October 2007, a juror was accused of having made up her mind already that Pickton was innocent. The trial judge questioned the juror, saying "It's reported to me you said from what you had seen you were certain Mr. Pickton was innocent, there was no way he could have done this. That the court system had arrested the wrong guy." The juror denied this completely. Justice Williams ruled that she could remain on the jury since it had not been proven she made the statements.
Justice James Williams suspended jury deliberations on December 6, 2007 after he discovered an error in his charge to the jury. Earlier in the day, the jury had submitted a written question to Justice James requesting clarification of his charge, asking "Are we able to say 'yes' [i.e., find Pickton guilty] if we infer the accused acted indirectly?"
On December 9, 2007, the jury returned a verdict that Pickton is not guilty on 6 counts of first-degree murder, but is guilty on 6 counts of second-degree murder. A second-degree murder conviction carries a punishment of a life sentence, with no possibility of parole for a period between 10 to 25 years, to be set by the trial judge. On December 11, 2007, after reading 18 victim impact statements, British Columbia Supreme Court Judge Justice James Williams sentenced Pickton to life with no possibility of parole for 25 years - the maximum punishment for second-degree murder, and equal to the sentence which would have been imposed for a first-degree murder conviction. "Mr. Pickton's conduct was murderous and repeatedly so. I cannot know the details but I know this: What happened to them was senseless and despicable," said Justice Williams in passing the sentence.
British Columbia Court of Appeal
The B.C. Court of Appeal rendered judgment in June 2009 on two appeals, one brought by the Crown (prosecution) and the other brought by the defence.
On January 7, 2008, the Attorney General filed an appeal in the British Columbia Court of Appeal, against Pickton's acquittals on the first-degree murder charges. The grounds of appeal relate to a number of evidentiary rulings made by the trial judge, certain aspects of the trial judge?s jury instructions, and the ruling to sever the six charges Pickton was tried on from the remaining twenty.
Some relatives of the victims in the case were taken back by the announcement of a Crown appeal, especially because Attorney-General Wally Oppal had said a few days earlier that the prosecution would likely not appeal. Although Pickton had been acquitted on the first-degree murder charges, he was convicted of second-degree murder and received the same sentence as he would have on first-degree murder convictions. The relatives of the victims expressed concern that the convictions would be jeopardized if the Crown argued that the trial judge had made errors. Opposition critic Leonard Krog criticized the Attorney-General for not having briefed the victims? families in advance.
Oppal apologized to the victims? families for not informing them of the appeal before it was announced to the general public. Oppal also said that the appeal was filed largely for ?strategic? reasons, in anticipation of an appeal by the defence. The prosecution?s rationale was that if Pickton appeals his convictions, and if that appeal is allowed, resulting in a new trial, the prosecution will want to hold that new trial on the original 26 charges of first-degree murder. But the Crown would be precluded from doing so unless it had successfully appealed the original acquittals on the first-degree murder charges, and the severance of the 26 counts into one group of six and one group of twenty.
Under the applicable rules of court, the time period for the Crown to appeal expired 30 days after December 9, when the verdicts were rendered, while the time period for the defence to appeal expired 30 days after December 11, when Pickton was sentenced. That is why the Crown announced its appeal first, even though the Crown appeal is intended to be conditional on an appeal by the defence. If the defence had not filed an appeal, then the Crown could have withdrawn its appeal.
On January 9, 2008, lawyers for Pickton filed a notice of appeal in the British Columbia Court of Appeal, seeking a new trial on six counts of second-degree murder. The lawyer representing Pickton on the appeal is Gil McKinnon, who had been a Crown prosecutor in the 1970s.
The notice of appeal enumerates various areas in which the defense alleges that the trial judge erred: the main charge to the jury, the response to the jurors? question, amending the jury charge, similar fact evidence, and Pickton?s statements to the police.
Decisions of the Court of Appeal
The British Columbia Court of Appeal issued its decisions on June 25, 2009, but some parts of the decisions were not publicly released because of publication bans still in place.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the defence appeal by a 2:1 majority. Because there was a dissent on a point of law, Pickton was entitled to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, without first seeking leave to appeal. His notice of appeal was filed in the Supreme Court of Canada on August 24, 2009.
The Court of Appeal allowed the crown appeal, finding that the trial judge erred in excluding some evidence and in severing the 26 counts into one group of 20 counts and one group of 6. The order resulting from this finding was stayed, so that the conviction on the six counts of second degree murder would not be set aside.
Supreme Court of Canada
I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one.: LBJ's Ghost
On June 26, 2009, Pickton's lawyers confirmed that they would exercise his right to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. The appeal was based on the dissent in the British Columbia Court of Appeal.
While Pickton had an automatic right to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada based on the legal issues on which Justice Donald had dissented, Pickton's lawyers applied to the Supreme Court of Canada for leave to appeal on other issues as well. On November 26, 2009, the Supreme Court of Canada granted this application for leave to appeal. The effect of this was to broaden the scope of Pickton's appeal, allowing him to raise arguments that had been rejected unanimously in the B.C. Court of Appeal (not just arguments that had been rejected by the 2-1 majority).
On July 30, 2010, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered its decision dismissing Pickton's appeal and affirming his convictions. The argument that Pickton should be granted a new trial was unanimously rejected by the Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada.
Although unanimous in its result, the Supreme Court split six to three in its legal analysis of the case. The issue was whether the trial judge made a legal error in his instructions to the jury, and in particular in his "re-instruction" responding to the jury's question about Pickton's liability if he was not the only person involved. Writing for the majority, Madam Justice Charron found that "the trial judge's response to the question posed by the jury did not adversely impact on the fairness of the trial". She further found that the trial judge's overall instructions with respect to other suspects "compendiously captured the alternative routes to liability that were realistically in issue in this trial. The jury was also correctly instructed that it could convict Mr. Pickton if the Crown proved this level of participation coupled with the requisite intent."
Mr. Justice LeBel, writing for the minority, found that the jury was not properly informed "of the legal principles which would have allowed them as triers of fact to consider evidence of Mr. Pickton?s aid and encouragement to an unknown shooter, as an alternative means of imposing liability for the murders." However, LeBel J. would have applied the so-called curative proviso so as not to overturn Pickton's convictions.
Reaction and aftermath to the court proceedings
Discontinuance of prosecution of other counts against Pickton
B.C. Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie announced that the prosecution of Pickton on the 20 other murder charges would likely be discontinued. "In reaching this position," he said, "the branch has taken into account the fact that any additional convictions could not result in any increase to the sentence that Mr. Pickton has already received."
Families of the victims had varied reactions to this announcement. Some were disappointed that Pickton would never be convicted of the 20 other murders, while others were relieved that the gruesome details of the murders would not be aired in court.
VPD management review of investigation
The Vancouver Police Department issued a statement that an "exhaustive management review of the Missing Women Investigation" has been conducted, and the VPD intends to make the Review available to the public once the criminal matters are concluded and the publication bans are removed. In addition, the VPD disclosed that for several years it has "communicated privately to the Provincial Government that it believes a Public Inquiry is necessary for an impartial examination of why it took so long for Robert Pickton to be arrested."
At a press conference, Deputy Chief Constable Doug LePard of the VPD apologized to the victims' families, saying "I wish from the bottom of my heart that we would have caught him sooner. I wish that, the several agencies involved, that we could have done better in so many ways. I wish that all the mistakes that were made, we could undo. And I wish that more lives would have been saved. So on my behalf and behalf of the Vancouver Police Department and all the men and women that worked on this investigation, I would say to the families how sorry we all are for your losses and because we did not catch this monster sooner."
Calls for public inquiry
British Columbia Attorney General Michael de Jong announced that a decision on whether to hold an inquiry would be made soon.
Certain of the families of Pickton's victims have called for a public inquiry into the handling of the case. Last week, [date needed] Vancouver Police Deputy Chief Doug LePard apologized for the department's failure to catch Pickton sooner, admitting mistakes were made. Police also revealed they believe there are at least 16 other missing women for whose deaths Pickton is responsible.
B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell said Thursday a decision on whether to call a public inquiry into the Pickton investigation would be made by the provincial cabinet in the coming weeks.
Both the VPD and the RCMP support a public inquiry, as does Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson.
The RCMP said that it continues to investigate the deaths of missing women, with a task force including 51 staff.
As well as families of the victims, several newspapers called for a public inquiry. A Toronto Star editorial noted, "Now that the legal wrangling is over, there is a bigger question to confront: how did the Port Coquitlam pig farmer manage to lure vulnerable women ? many of them prostitutes from Vancouver?s Downtown Eastside ? to their deaths for 14 years before police arrested him?" The Winnipeg Free Press argued, "the families of all victims deserve fuller answers". Others argued that a public inquiry would be a wasted expense: "Better they take the millions of extra public dollars it would all cost and put it into actual stepped up services to help the street workers and addicts, who still ply their trade on the downtown eastside, get the real medical and psychological help they need."
Transfer to penitentiary
During a court hearing on August 4, 2010, Judge Williams stated that Pickton should be committed to a federal penitentiary; up to that point he had been held at a provincial pretrial institution.
I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one.: LBJ's Ghost
Pickton had faced a further 20 first degree murder charges involving other female victims from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. On February 26, 2008, a family member of one of the 20 women named as alleged victims told the media that the Crown had told her a trial on the further 20 counts might not proceed.
On August 4, 2010, Crown prosecutors stayed the balance of the pending murder charges against Pickton, ending the prospect of any further trials.
The 20 charges were formally stayed by crown counsel Melissa Gillespie shortly after 4 p.m. during a British Columbia Supreme Court hearing at New Westminster.
Most (but not all) of the publication bans in the case were lifted by the trial judge, James Williams of the British Columbia Supreme Court, after lawyers spent hours in court going through the various complicated bans.
On August 6, 2010, various media outlets released a transcript of conversations between an RCMP undercover operator and Pickton in his holding cell. While the RCMP censored the undercover officer's name throughout most of the document, his name was left uncensored in several portions of the document that the RCMP released to the public. This uncensored version was available to the public, through Global News, CTV, and the Vancouver Sun, for about an hour before being pulled and re-edited. It is not known the extent of the damage this mistake caused the undercover officer.
On December 17, 2007, Pickton was convicted of second-degree murder in the deaths of six women:
Count 1, Sereena Abotsway (born August 20, 1971), 29 when she disappeared in August 2001.
Count 2, Mona Lee Wilson (born January 13, 1975), 26 when she was last seen on November 23, 2001. Reported Missing November 30, 2001.
Count 6, Andrea Joesbury, 22 when last seen in June 2001.
Count 7, Brenda Ann Wolfe, 32 when last seen in February 1999 and was reported missing in April 2000.
Count 16, Marnie Lee Frey, last seen August 1997.Vancouver Police Missing Persons Case #98-209922.
Count 11, Georgina Faith Papin, last seen in 1999.
Pickton also stood accused of first-degree murder in the deaths of twenty other women until these charges were stayed on August 4, 2010.
Count 3, Jacqueline Michelle McDonell, 23 when she was last seen in January 1999. Vancouver Police Missing Persons Case # 99-039699.
Count 4, Dianne Rosemary Rock (born September 2, 1967), 34 when last seen on October 19, 2001. Reported missing December 13, 2001.
Count 5, Heather Kathleen Bottomley (born August 17, 1976), 25 when she was last seen (and reported missing) on April 17, 2001.
Count 8, Jennifer Lynn Furminger, last seen in 1999.
Count 9, Helen Mae Hallmark, last seen August 1997. Vancouver Police Missing Persons Case #98-226384.
Count 10, Patricia Rose Johnson, last seen in March 2001.
Count 12, Heather Chinnock, 30 when last seen in April 2001.
Count 13, Tanya Holyk, 23 when last seen in October 1996.
Count 14, Sherry Irving, 24 when last seen in 1997.
Count 15, Inga Monique Hall, 46 when last seen in February 1998. Vancouver Police Missing Persons Case # 98-047919.
Count 17, Tiffany Drew, last seen December 1999.
Count 18, Sarah de Vries, last seen April 1998.
Count 19, Cynthia Feliks, last seen in December 1997.
Count 20, Angela Rebecca Jardine, last seen November 20, 1998 between 3:30- 4p.m. at Oppenheimer Park at a rally in the downtown Eastside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Vancouver Police Missing Persons Case # 98.286097.
Count 21, Diana Melnick, last seen in December 1995.
Count 22, Jane Doe ?charge lifted; see below.
Count 23, Debra Lynne Jones, last seen in December 2000.
Count 24, Wendy Crawford, last seen in December 1999.
Count 25, Kerry Koski, last seen in January 1998.
Count 26, Andrea Fay Borhaven, last seen in March 1997. Vancouver Police Missing Persons Case # 99.105703.
Count 27, Cara Louise Ellis aka Nicky Trimble (born April 13, 1971), 25 when last seen in 1996. Reported missing October 2002.
As of March 2, 2006, the murder charge involving the unidentified victim has been lifted. Pickton refused to enter a plea on the charge involving this victim, known in the proceedings as Jane Doe, so the court registered a not-guilty plea on his behalf. "The count as drawn fails to meet the minimal requirement set out in Section 581 of the Criminal Code. Accordingly, it must be quashed," wrote Justice James Williams. The detailed reasons for the judge's ruling cannot be reported in Canada because of the publication ban covering this stage of the trial.
Pickton is implicated in the murders of the following women, but charges have not yet been laid (incomplete list):
Mary Ann Clark aka Nancy Greek, 25, disappeared in August 1991 from downtown Victoria.
Yvonne Marie Boen (sometimes used the surname England) (born November 30, 1967), 34 when last seen on March 16, 2001 and reported missing on March 21, 2001.
Dawn Teresa Crey, reported missing in December 2000. Crey is the main subject of a 2006 documentary film about murdered and missing Aboriginal women in Canada, entitled Finding Dawn.
Two unidentified women.
After Pickton was arrested many people started coming forward and talking to police about what was going on at the farm. One of these witnesses that came forward was Lynn Ellingsen. Ellingsen claimed to have seen Pickton skinning a woman hanging from a meat hook years earlier; she did not tell anyone about this out of fear for her life. This fear would seem justified, especially after Wendy Eistetter's incident in which she was stabbed by Pickton, managed to get away and even tell police, yet right before trial all charges were dropped and nothing happened to Pickton.
I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one.: LBJ's Ghost
In August 2006, Thomas Loudamy, a 27-year-old Fremont, California resident, claimed that he had received three letters from Robert Pickton in response to letters Loudamy sent under an assumed identity.
In the letters, Pickton allegedly speaks with concern about the expense of the investigation, asserts his innocence, quotes and refers to the Bible, praises the trial judge, and responds in detail to (fictional) information in Loudamy's letters, which were written in the guise of Mya Barnett, a 'down on her luck' woman.
The news of the letters' existence was broken by The Vancouver Sun, in an exclusive published on Saturday, September 2, 2006, and as of that date, neither law enforcement nor any representative of Pickton has verified the authenticity of the letters. The Sun, however, has undertaken several actions to confirm the documents' authenticity, including:
Confirming that the outgoing stamps are consistent with those of the North Fraser Pretrial Centre (NFPC), where Pickton is being held;
Confirming through a representative of Canada Post that the outgoing stamps are not forgeries; and
Confirming that the machine (identifiable with a serial number included in the stamp) used to stamp the envelopes is the machine used by the NFPC.
Loudamy claims not to have kept copies of his outgoing letters to Pickton, and as of September 4, 2006, no information on their existence has been forthcoming from Pickton or his representatives.
Loudamy has a history of writing to accused and convicted criminals, in some instances under his own identity (as with his correspondence with Clifford Olson), and in others in the guise of a character he believes will be more readily accepted by the targets of the letters. Loudamy, an aspiring journalist, claims that his motivation in releasing the letters is to help the public gain insights into Pickton.
I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one.: LBJ's Ghost
December 6, 2002 - Judge David Stone denied an application by Pickton's lawyer Peter Ritchie to impose a publication ban on the suspected serial killer's preliminary hearing. Pickton, a 53-year-old Port Coquitlam pig farmer, has been charged with murdering 15 of the 63 missing women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Investigators have hinted at finding body parts, DNA and personal items in Pickton's ramshackled farm. Defence attorney argued that the prosecution's evidence against his client was so explosive, that it would be impossible to find an unbiased jury of 12 for his trial.
December 4, 2002 - One of the 62 women believed to have disappeared from the Downtown Eastside has been located alive. Tanya Colleen Emery, 38, was located living in Central Canada, said the joint RCMP-Vancouver city police task force investigating the disappearances. "She was located as part of our ongoing investigation," said RCMP Const. Catherine Galliford, spokeswoman for the task force. Emery, who was number 46 on the list, was reportedly last seen in December 1998.
Officially, the list includes the names of 62 women. The task force is reviewing the case of one more woman woman fitting the same profile who could be added to the list.
November 28, 2002 - Vancouver'se missing women task force wants the public's help in locating four women who disappeared from Vancouver between 1978 and 1999. Two of the four match the profile of the women who have vanished from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside in that they were involved with drugs or the sex trade. The other two do not match the profile, but investigators are still hoping to find out what happened to the women to bring closure for their families.
Verna Littlechief, who was originally from Saskatchewan, was working in the sex trade in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside when she was last seen in 1978 at the age of 34. Littlechief, an aboriginal woman also known as Bernie Roberts, was about 5'2" and struggled with an alcohol problem.
Her family did not hear from her for years, but reported her missing to police in Saskatchewan last March after intense media coverage surrounding the charges against accused serial killer Robert William Pickton.
Marilyn Ann Moore, who was also 34 when she was last seen on April 11, 1985, had a drug problem, but was not believed to be working in the sex trade. She was reported missing on June 25, 1986, after relatives living in the U.S. visited Vancouver to find her without luck. Lenora Elizabeth Olding had just turned 19 when she was last seen leaving her Vancouver residence on Oct. 16, 1986. The young woman was not connected to the sex trade or drugs. Elizabeth Chalmers was last seen on Feb. 22, 1999, and reported missing the following day. She was 53 at the time of her disappearance. Like Olding, she does not have a history involving drugs or the sex trade. She did reside in Vancouver at the time of her disappearance, but was not known to frequent the Downtown Eastside.
November 28, 2002 - While a publication ban would have been imposed automatically at the request of the defendant in a preliminary hearing, the media and public would still be permitted to be present.
Burnett said the media could then use the information at a later date, either at the outcome of a trial or if the defendant were to plead guilty.
If the media is not permitted in the courtroom, the public loses access to all the information, Burnett said.
At issue is the fact that some American media outlets have indicated they would not respect a ban on publication since it legally does not apply outside Canada.
Ritchie said earlier that if American news operations published or broadcast evidence from the preliminary hearing, it would affect his client's right to a fair trial. It would also be hard to find impartial jurors, he said.
November 27, 2002 - Councillor Lynne Kennedy introduced a report that calls for sensitivity training for police officers, more detox beds and a 1-800-number that would allow families anywhere in B.C. to report a loved one missing.
The report says the objective is to prevent other youth from entering the vicious cycle of drug abuse and the sex trade which trapped so many of the missing women.
Meanwhile, the B.C. Corrections Service is investigating reports that former inmates of the North Fraser Pre-trial Centre where Pickton is incarcerated are trying to sell poetry they claim he wrote. Wayne Willows, of the Corrections Service, said he would look into it, but said it is likely a hoax as Pickton does not have access to other inmates.
October 25, 2002 - Internet auction website Ebay pulled a site claiming to be selling dirt from the notorious Pickton pig farm. The seller going by the name Dizan Hamilton listed "Robert Pickton Dirt From His Pig Farm" on ebay.ca under item #727373047 in the Collectables: Rocks, Fossils, Minerals section. He was asking for an opening bid of $9.99. The site offered a brief description of the pig-farm story and claimed the seller is a local resident who has been to the Port Coquitlam farm. No bids were made prior to the site being pulled.
October 24, 2002 - The family of another of Vancouver's missing women was notified by E-mail that the Missing Women's Task Force had found their daughter's DNA in Robert Pickton's Port Coquitlam pig farm. The victim, Angela Rebecca Jardine, disappeared four years ago. Pickton, who turns 53 today, has been charged with murdering 15 women on the list of 63 women who have disappeared from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside in recent years.
No charges have been laid in connection with Angela Jardine's disappearance or murder. Relatives of another missing woman, Sarah de Vries, were notified several months ago that her DNA had also been found at the farm, but in insufficient amounts to lead to an additional murder charge. The DNA found at the Dominion Avenue farm has led to the 15 charges laid in the deaths of Heather Chinnock, Inga Hall, Tanya Holyk, Sherry Irving, Georgina Papin, Patricia Johnson, Helen Hallmark, Jennifer Furminger, Mona Wilson, Diane Rock, Sereena Abotsway, Andrea Joesbury, Heather Bottomley, Brenda Wolfe and Jacquilene McDonell. A lawyer for Pickton said police have collected 200,000 DNA samples during a massive crime scene investigation that involved the farm and a nearby property.
Jardine earlier told The Sun her daughter was mentally challenged and had the capacity of an 11-year-old. Her family tried for years to help her and keep her with them in Sparwood, but the young woman continually ran away to the Downtown Eastside. It was there that Elaine Allan, then a coordinator at a drop-in centre for sex-trade workers, knew Angela whom she described as a "fixture" in the close-knit community.
June 6, 2002 - Using heavy machinery, two conveyor belts and dozens of additional experts and technicians, the task force begins excavating the Dominion Avenue property owned by Pickton and his two siblings.
May 22, 2002 - Pickton is charged with a seventh count of first degree murder, in the death of Brenda Ann Wolfe, who was originally from Alberta and last seen in the Downtown Eastside in February 1999.
May 11, 2002 - The Sun reports that dozens of archeology students with training in identifying human bone are being hired to help with an expanded search at the Dominion Avenue property. Retired police officers are also being offered contracts.
April 17, 2002 - Police execute a search warrant on a second Port Coquitlam property partially owned by Pickton, on Burns Road.
I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one.: LBJ's Ghost
April 9, 2002: Pig farmer and alleged serial killer, Robert Pickton was charged with his sixth first degree murder count for the murder of 23-year-old Andrea Joesbury, who disappeared in June 2001. In addition, Vancouver police notified the families of Joesbury and Sereena Abotsway that the remains of their loved ones were found in Pickton's Port Coquitlam pig farm. The Vancouver Sun has confirmed that other remains -- for which no charges have been filed -- remain unidentified.
For the second week in a row, Pickton appeared expressionless on a television monitor in the Port Coquitlam provincial courtroom as Crown prosecutor Michael Petrie told Judge David Stone that an additional murder count had been filed against him.
April 3, 2002: In a susprise development, Port Coquitlam pig farmer Robert Pickton was charged with three more counts of first-degree murder. Prosecutor Mike Petrie announced the new charges at what was expected to be a routine remand appearance in which the 52-year-old suspect appeared on closed-circuit television. The names of the three victims are Jacqueline McDonell, Diane Rock and Heather Bottomley. Jacqueline McDonell was allegedly murdered after January 21, 1999, Diane Rock was murdered after October 19, 2001, and Heather Bottomley was murdered after March 21, 2001. The three victims are included in the list of the 54 missing Vancouver Downtown Eastside women.
March 30, 2002: Anne Elizabeth Wolsey, who had been reported in 1997, was located alive and well back in Eastern Canada. With the reemergence of Wolsey, the list of missing women remains at 54.
March 28, 2002: Vancouver police are adding the names of five more women to the list of 50 who have disappeared from the city's seedy downtown eastside. One of the five women, Ruby Anne Hardy, was rjust reported missing. Hardy, also known as Ruby Galloway, would be 37 if she is still alive. She was last seen by her family in 1998. The other women are: Maria Laura Laliberte, who would be 52 if she is alive, was last seen in 1997 but not reported missing until March 8; Anne Elizabeth Wolsey, who would be 29, was reported missing in 1997; Yvonne Marie Boen, 34, was last seen a year ago. Boen, who used the name England, was last seen on March 16 last year, but only reported missing on March 21; Tiffany Louise Drew, who would be 27, was last seen in December 1999 and was reported missing in February.
March 27, 2002: The Vancouver missing women task force is adding 30 investigators in addition to the 80 investigators and 12 forensic specialists already working on the search of the farm in suburban Port Coquitlam. Investigators originally anticipated the search of the pig farm would take a few months but now they say it could take up to three years. "It'll easily be a year more or less that we're going to be, probably, physically on the site," Vancouver police Detective Scott Driemel said during a news conference.
February 26, 2002: Relatives of seven missing Vancouver women are questioning police procedures that led to their loved ones disappearing after Robert Pickton's Port Coquitlam pig farm "became a property of interest to the missing women joint task force." The property, which is now being carfully combed through by upwards of 80 investigators, came to the attention of the task force after February 28, 2001, when the RCMP joined the investigation and reviewed the existing case files. It is now clear that officers knew about Pickton and his farm for more than four years, but had not singled him out as a prime suspect.
Over the last four years police recieved several tips about the pig farm and knew that working women went there regularly "to party". Mohamed Khogaini, the boyfriend of Andrea Joesbury, who is 47th on the list of missing women, recalls police questioning him a few months after Joesbury disappeared. "They talked to me about Andrea and wanted to know if she went to Coquitlam." Joesbury was a friend of Dinah Taylor, who lived with Robert Pickton at the farm for about 18 months until December 2001. Taylor is known to have invited working women from the Downtown Eastside to party at the farm. It now seems that some of those never came back.
February 23, 2002: Vancouver Police announced they arrested pig farmer Robert William Pickton and charged him with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of two missing downtown Vancouver women. Police remain tightlipped about the evidence uncovered at the pig farm and what evidence led to the arrest. Pickton was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of two of the missing women, Sereena Abotsway and Mona Wilson, who were two of the last three women to disappear in late 2001. Pickton is accused of killing Wilson, 26, sometime between December 1, 2001, and February 5. Abotsway, who was 29 when she disappeared, is alleged to have been killed between July 18, 2001, and February 5.
According to Constable Cate Galliford of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the search of the 10-acre farm uncovered evidence linking the suspect to two of the missing Downtown eastside women. The constable added that the search of the property could continue for many months. "We do have hundreds of potential suspects," she said at a news conference, adding the farm search is the only one under way now "but as the investigation unfolds and we continue to follow up on tips, we may start focusing on other potential suspects."
February 14, 2002 - Police are focusing their attention on a trailer in the back of the Port Coquitlam pig farm being scoured for evidence in the missing women investigation. Vancouver police detective Scott Driemel said investigators have taken DNA samples from the trailer and are calling on women who may have visited the trailer to supply samples for matching to eliminate people from their inquiry. Police won't say if the trailer was used for parties that had been held on the farm and featured prostitutes among the guests.
February 12, 2002 - Police have expanded the Missing Women's Task Force to 85 officers, adding 16 senior investigators for a total of 40 forensic specialist working the farm site in Port Coquitlam. "This search clearly qualifies as a large event," said RCMP Constable Catherine Galliford. "Indeed, we do believe that this search and associated investigations represent one of the largest co-ordinated police efforts in B.C."
Police have now expanded their search to include a rendering plant near Vancouver's Downtown Eastside where Pickton has taken pig entrails for over 20 years. They have also asked some of the relatives of the victims to give DNA samples. However, investigators have remained tight-lipped about their findings at the pig farm or in relation to the case. "Investigations of this magnitude are a complex and often shadowy web of interconnected issues and bits of information. As we discover yet another link in the web, it can change the nature of what we already know. Hopefully, we will soon see the full picture," Vancouver police Detective Scott Driemel said.
As for possible suspect "Willy" Pickton, he remains a free man. Police have not said whether he is under any type of surveillance, only that he's a "person of interest" in the investigation. As of now, he has not been charged with anything relating to the dissappearances.
February 12, 2002 - Speaking to the media on behalf of David William Pickton, longtime friend Gina Houston said the pig farmer is a "nice caring man" who likes to help single mothers and wouldn't hurt a soul, especially a prostitute. Gina added that Willy "befriends a lot of them, and he kind of feels sorry for them and he does give them money. He'll give them 20 bucks to go buy themselves... well, I mean, they obviously go get dope, but they say they need cigarettes and tampons and condoms and blah, blah, blah, blah. And he'd rather give them a couple of bucks than see them working -- the ones he has befriended, right?"
Houston and her husband, Ross Edward Contois, said police had singled out their friend because of the false accusations from a known drug-acddict they know. "She's got a great personality, but as soon as she gets a little heroin or a little coke, and she can't get no more drugs, she goes right off," Houston said. "I've been hauled into the serious crime unit umpteen times over this crackhead... when he [Pickton] doesn't give her money for dope, she phones and says he's slaughtering the hookers and burying them on the property."
Houston insists the allegations by the woman she met at the transition house are baseless. "This chick watched him slaughter a few pigs, and she went and phoned," she said. "And she described in detail how he slaughters and skins them and cuts them. So she phones the police up and tells them that she watched him and I doing that there one night, and it was just a pig. She said it was one of the missing hookers from the Downtown Eastside."
I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one.: LBJ's Ghost
According to his good friend, Pickton stabbed the prostitute in 1997 in self defence: "He got the bum end of the deal because of that incident with the hooker that he brought back here that stabbed him," Houston said. "They dropped the charges against him because all the stab wounds on him were in the back. He defended himself and ended up stabbing her."
February 10, 2002 - Task force officers have erected fences round the Port Coquitlam pig farm owned by Robert William Pickton and his brother. They have also erected a tent along with their mobile command center. The 30-member task force has been joined by an undisclosed number of local officers to assist in the forensic search of the property. Families and friends of the missing women have converged around the ramshackled farm, hoping to finally have some answers to the dissapearence of their loved ones.
February 9, 2002 - According to his lawyer, Robert William Pickton, one of the owners of the Port Coquitlam pig farm being investigated by the Vancouver missing women task force, is "shocked" and "flabbergasted" that he has been named a person of interest in the case. The lawyer, Peter Ritchie, said he is acting on behalf of Pickton, his brother and his sister, and represents them in various business interests, including a home demolition business, a used building supply company and the farm. "I've spoken to the sister and two brothers," Ritchie said, breaking the silence on behalf of the family. "They spoke to me yesterday... the family is shocked by this and is trying to assist police." Ritchey said the family was willing to allow the use of any farm equipment to assist police, adding: "they're concerned about underground digging, because there are wires and gas lines and various soils stored in a certain way." Ritchie previously represented Pickton in 1997 when he was charged with an attack on a Vancouver prostitute.
February 8, 2002 - Wayne Leng, in his grassroots search for Sarah deVries, set up a hotline for tips, which in 1998 recieved a call from a man calling himself "Bill" who said Sarah was dead. "This man who couldn't give me any more identity than Bill told me a prostitute he knew had been taken to a big pig farm at Port Coquitlam, where she had been badly assaulted," Leng said. "What's more, the prostitute had told Bill she had seen numerous items of women's clothing and pieces of women's ID all over the place." Leng recieved several other tips about a dangerous farmer called "Willy" which he passed on to the Vancouver police department and never heard about again.
"We were all concerned because it didn't seem anybody wanted to take this guy seriously," said Leng. "We never heard whether they actually did searches of Willy's place or whatever. You know. But we knew he had lots of land and he was fairly well off it seems."
In another Port Coquitlam property dubbed "Piggy's Palace," Pickton and his brother David threw several large parties and had what would constitute as an illegal bar. In 1996 the city of Port Coquitlam went to court seeking an order against the brothers and their "Piggy Palace Good Times Society" to bar them from holding any more parties on the property. In an affidavit filed with the court in 1998, Port Coquitlam Fire Chief Randy Shaw said he toured the property with David Pickton in September 1998 and found a building there that appeared to be a dance hall. "I observed a commercial type kitchen, pub type bar, raised entertainment stage, dance floor, sound and lighting system and tables and chairs capable of accommodating a group in excess of 150 persons," the affidavit stated.
The Picktons brothers, together with their sister, Linda L. Wright, own several more properties in the Port Coquitlam and Maple Ridge area worth millions of dollars. Pickton, who goes by the name of 'Willy,' has been considered a prson of interest in the investigation since July 1998 when investigators received a tip that a woman had been inside Pickton's trailer and had seen bags of bloody clothing as well as women's identification.
February 7, 2002 - BC Police announced a major break in the case of the 50 women missing women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. RCMP and task force members have sealed off a Port Coquitlam pig farm and set up a mobile command center near the property's dilapadated barn. "I can tell you a search is being conducted on that property and the search is being executed by the missing-women task force," said Constable Catherine Galliford, the spokeswoman for the joint Vancouver police-RCMP task force. The suspect being investigated is one of the farm's owners, 52-year-old Robert William Pickton.
Police originally showed up to the Port Coquitlam pig farm to serve a firearm warrant. When authorities found identification and other items linked to at least two of the 50 missing prostitutes from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, they called for a second warrant to fully investigate the property. BC-CTV News reported that an asthma-type inhaler belonging to one of the missing woman was one of the items found. After the first search Pickton, was charged with three firearm violations.
Pickton was charged in 1997 with the attempted murder of Vancouver prostitute, Wendy Lyn Eistetter. He was also charged with unlawful confinement, assault with a weapon and aggravated assault. Police alleged that in April 8, 1997 Pickton picked up Eistetter on Vancouver's downtown Eastside and took her to his PoCo pig farm where he stabbed her repeatedly with a kitchen knife, leaving the woman oin the brink of death. She was able to escape and press charges against him. The charges were dropped in January 28, 1998, because the woman would not testify.
According to the local press, the 10-acre PoCo property was in a state of disarray and full of broken vehicles and trash. A "No trespassing" signs hung from a huge wired gate, including one threatening an attack by a pitbull with AIDS. By nightfall investigators brought in generators and power lights to assist with the search as large crowds of onlookers gathered outside the farm. Police have also mapped the site with aerial photographs and RPMC brought in two corpse-sniffing dogs to help locate any buried bodies.
February 4, 2002 - The missing sex-trade workers task force in Vancouver is now looking at two unsolved murders on the North Shore for clues. Investigators are probing details from two murders in 1990 and 1996. Mary Lidguerre, 31, a drug user and prostitute, was found dead in August 1996 near Mount Seymour Road. The body of another woman, Bonnie Whalen, 32, was discovered nearby six years earlier in April 1990. "There is some very valuable information we've collected from those investigations that may benefit the 50 missing women," said Constable Cate Galliford, a spokesperson for the task force.
January 2002 - Task force officers added five more women to list, bringing total number of missing sex-trade workers to 50.
December 12, 2001 - Witnesses told police that Green River Killer suspect, Gary Leon Ridgway, spent time in and around Vancouver where 45 women have disappeared. Ridgway's neighbors said he and wife Judith constantly traveled in their motor-home to British Columbia and Oregon. Following Ridgeway's arrest, Canadian investigators visited authorities in Seattle to gather information about the suspect. Vancouver Detective Jim McKnight said police and RCMP have taken statements from Vancouver prostitutes who said they recognized Ridgway. "There's some indication that he was in B.C.," McKnight told Seattle's KING-TV. "I can't be too specific because I don't know for sure yet." The Vancouver disappearances, which victim-wise are very similar to the Seattle cases, began in 1984, at about the same time that the Green River killings ended. Police said they are investigating 600 potential suspects, 100 of which are considered high priority, including Ridgway.
December 5, 2001 - Two months after The Vancouver Sun said the number of missing Downtown Eastside women was much bigger than the official tally of 27, the Vancouver police department released photos and names of 18 additional women, bringing the total of potential victims to 45. But while police are asking for the public's assistance in finding out what happened to the women, Vancouver police detective Scott Driemel said they are still not formally added to the original list of 27 names. "If efforts fail to locate these women, their names will be added to the existing list of missing women," he told a packed news conference.
Families of the newly identified women, who went missing between 1985 and last August, said they were happy to finally have their loved ones' disappearances publicized. But they also wondered why it has taken so long to get the names and photographs released.
The most recent disappearance on the list is that of Serena Abbotsway, last seen August 1. Her aunt told The Sun that Abbotsway, who disappeared weeks before her 30th birthday, had a difficult childhood and spent years in foster care before ending up in the Downtown Eastside. "I think she is basically one of those people who has been misplaced all of her life," said her aunt, who asked not to be named. Others who went missing in 2001 are Angela Joesbury, who disappeared in June, Heather Chinnock, who went missing in April and Patricia Johnson, who vanished in March.
I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one.: LBJ's Ghost
Dawn Crey and Debra Jones disappeared in 2000, while Georgina Papin, Brenda Wolfe, Jennifer Furminger and Wendy Crawford all went missing in 1999. Sherry Irving and Cindy Feliks both disappeared in 1997. Angela Arseneault was a 17-year-old when she was last seen in 1994, while Leigh Miner went missing in 1993. Elsie Sebastien disappeared in 1992, although her case was reported to police only last May. Nancy Clark, also known as Nancy Greek, was last seen in Victoria in 1991. The oldest case on the new list is that of Laura Mah, who went missing in August 1985, but her disappearance was not reported to police until the summer of 1999.
November 26, 2001 - The task force investigating the missing sex-trade workers from the Downtown Eastside has classified about 100 potential suspects as "high priority," The Vancouver Sun has learned. In October, police said they had a list of 600 possible suspects that included men from across B.C. convicted of violent attacks against sex-trade workers. The task force has been prioritizing those 600 men, and those at the top of the list are getting closer scrutiny.
The missing women task force is trying to pinpoint suspects by compiling data on sophisticated case management software known as the Specialized Investigative Unit Support System, or SIUSS. It is the same system police used during the Abbotsford Killer case. The software allows investigators to analyze thousands of pieces of information by entering each piece of evidence in the computer -- which can determine in seconds whether a person has surfaced previously during the case.
September 23, 2001 - Vancouver police investigating the disappearance of 31 street prostitutes from the city's drug-infested red-light district said the number of missing women could be much higher. Two years ago, Vancouver police released a reward poster with the names of 31 women, most of whom were involved in drugs and the sex trade, who had disappeared from the Downtown Eastside. Though four of the original 31 missing women have reappeared, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police -- who has joined the Vancouver police to form joint task force to replace Vancouver's stalled investigation -- found an additional 18 cases that fit the victim profile.
Meanwhile, a new book scheduled to be published strongly supports a theory featured two years ago in a Calgary Sun special report that the women were taken to sea on freighters as sex slaves. The book Bad Date -- The Lost Girls of Vancouver's Low Track, by Trevor Greene, quotes many street women who believe the missing prostitutes were taken aboard freighters and dumped at sea. "Until the living or dead bodies of the disappeared women start appearing, it is one of the most likely explanations, and it is what many of the citizens of (Vancouver area) Low Track are suggesting," he wrote. "They dope her up, she overdoses or they overdose her, then it's a midnight burial at sea."
April, 2001 - After downsizing its investigation, the Vancouver Police department hands the missing women case over to the RCMP cold case squad.
August 6, 2001 - Since the case of the missing prostitutes was made public in 1999, the original VPD task force dwindled to three officers. To date, police have found four of the 31 missing women. Two of them were dead, one from heart problems, the other from a drug overdose. Two were found alive, but police have not release details about them. However, four more missing women have been added to the list. First, Brenda Ann Wolfe, 32, who disappeared in February 1999, and was reported missing the following April. Then, Jennie Lynn Furminger, was reported missing in March 2000. Finally Dawn Teresa Crey, 42, and Debra Lynne Jones, 43, were both reported missing in December. "I guess it does say that the problem still exists," said VPD Sergeant Geramy Field. "For a while there -- for the majority of 1999 -- we felt that we didn't have any [more missing] and that either somebody was in custody or the perpetrator had died or moved on, perhaps because of the media pressure."
June 2001 - Kim Rossmo, 46, a geographic profiler in the VPD sued the department for wrongful dismissal. Rossmo, who at the time was Canada's first police officer with a Ph.D., developed a ground-breaking computerized crime investigation tool for geographic profiling, making him a fast-rising star in the department. Rossmo was quickly promoted from constable to detective-inspector and was allowed to set up a geographic profiling unit, which went on to win the department international acclaim and awards, but jealousy and the department's "old boy's network," kept undermining his work.
In 1998, when Rossmo said that there was a strong possibility of a serial killer active in Vancouver, others in the department, perhaps out of spite, quickly rejected his claim. In his suit Rossmo, who now works in Washington D.C., specifically accuses Deputy Chief John Unger and major crime police Inspector Fred Biddlecombe of freezing him out of the missing women investigation. According to court documents Biddlecombe "threw a small temper tantrum" when Rossmo suggested that police should tell the media of the possibility of a serial killer is at work on the Downtown Eastside. Rossmo equated the experience to being on a 747 jetliner when someone tells the pilot there's smoke in the cabin. "If the captain says, 'Prove to me there's a fire,' you know he's either a fool or incompetent."
Remarkably, this is not the first time Rossmo has warned fellow officers about a serial killer on the loose, and it's not the first time he is stonewalled by his colleagues. In 1994, after analyzing three sets of remains discovered outside Saskatoon, Rossmo suggested they were the work of a serial killer. Police dismissed his claims, even though they had a convicted rapist -- John Martin Crawford -- under surveillance. Crawford turned out to have murdered at least four native women and is suspected of killing three others.
According to Warren Goulding, author of "Just Another Indian-A Serial Killer and Canada's Indifference," Crawford was able to allude authorities and kill repeatedly because his victim's were native women. Goulding believes that there are as many as 450 aboriginal women missing from western Canada and no one seems to care. Not surprisingly, a large number of the missing Downtown Eastside women are also of aboriginal descent.
Since 1999, Wayne Leng, the friend of Sarah DeVries, has been keeping track of the investigation of the missing women on his web site, WWW.MISSINGPEOPLE.NET. Though he started the web site as an online memorial for his friend Sarah, the site has grown into the nerve-center for keeping track of all the disappearing women. With the help of his web site a small but vocal contingency of family and friends of the missing have kept the police investigators from completely dismissing the case. Leng and the others are now talking about filing a class action lawsuit against the VPD for incompetence and neglect in their handling of the missing women file.
Vancouver city police finally dropped their guard and now publicly acknowledge the strong possibility that one or serial killers are abducting women from the Downtown Eastside. In fact, a new joint force of city police and Mounties has been formed to look into at least 60 solved and unsolved homicides of women working in the sex trade or living a similar lifestyle in the past two decades. Vancouver police
Sergeant Geramy Field said the task force has been in the works for some time and wasn't prompted by the recent disappearances. Field added her department has assigned two homicide detectives to the task force, which will be focusing on the known murders of women in the sex trade as well as the files on missing women. Investigators will be trying to see if any patterns emerge or if there is useful evidence in solved or unsolved murder files from across Western Canada that can provide clues on Vancouver's missing women cases.
I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one.: LBJ's Ghost