VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Sister trapped by drugs, prostitution
Petti Fong and Lindsay Kines
Tuesday, February 26, 2002
Ada Wilson remembers her sister Mona as the dreamer of the family, the baby of five siblings and the one who still believed in unicorns.
"They were her favourite animals and real to her," Wilson said Monday. "She was the youngest and I was the next youngest, so we were close."
Wilson made the comments Monday after Robert William Pickton, 52, made his first court appearance on charges that he murdered Mona Lee Wilson and Sereena Abotsway -- two of the 50 women missing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, all of whom were involved in drugs or the sex trade.
Mona Wilson, 26, disappeared late last year and Pickton is accused of murdering her sometime between Dec. 1 and Feb. 5 -- the day police arrived to search his family's pig farm on Dominion Avenue in Port Coquitlam.
Ada Wilson, who attended a native healing circle at the pig farm Monday, said she had her sister's Christmas present wrapped and ready for her to open Dec. 25, but realized when the day passed that her sister was in trouble.
"She always called," Ada Wilson said. "We always spent Christmas together as a family and when there was nothing, I knew something was wrong."
Every year for Christmas, Wilson said, she would buy her sister jewellery or makeup. This year, Wilson said she splurged and bought a necklace with a ruby heart pendant with matching earrings.
Her sister, she said, would have looked beautiful wearing the set.
"She would have been so happy with it and that would have made her beautiful too," she said Tuesday. "I wish she could have tried it on at least once."
Elaine Allan knew Mona Wilson well in the three and a half years that Allan worked in the Downtown Eastside at a drop-in centre for sex trade workers.
Allan described her Monday as a very sweet young woman who had struggled to deal with a lot of violence in her life and a serious drug problem.
She said Mona had wanted to get off drugs but had been unable to get into a treatment centre because there are so few spaces available for women.
"She would say 'I am ready. Please help me.' But there was nothing," Allan said.
Allan said she did manage to leave the Downtown Eastside for a time, living in Richmond. But she ended up back on the street.
"She was firmly entrenched in the survival sex trade," Allan said. "She was such a sweetheart. She had been out on the street for a long time."
Wilson's former teacher told The Sun recently that the young woman was hoping to turn her life around four years ago, when she took a course to help troubled young people find work.
"She always wore pink lipstick," Joanna Lundy said. "She was very bubbly -- kind of like a little girl."
Lundy also recalled that Wilson struggled to overcome a troubled past that included abuse. She was already living in the Downtown Eastside and was in the sex trade when she was in the program that Lundy taught at a neighbourhood house in east Vancouver.
"Really, the odds were against her," Lundy said. "I remember her talking about having nightmares."
Linda Rieveley went to the Port Coquitlam courthouse Monday to find out who Pickton was accused of killing. She knew many of the women on the list after spending years in the Downtown Eastside. She now lives in Port Coquitlam.
When she heard it was Wilson, whom she had known downtown, she was overwhelmed.
"I didn't want to hear that it was somebody I knew, but I also wanted to hear because I have to know," Rieveley said.
Wilson's boyfriend, Steve Rix, also showed up at court to see Pickton "face to face." But Pickton was whisked in and out of the courtroom in a matter of minutes, and Rix missed his chance to see him.
Instead, he stood outside fielding endless questions from reporters about his relationship with Wilson, whom he described as an intelligent, beautiful woman.
"She didn't deserve this."
He said they were together five years, living on Vancouver's east side. "We had a place, an apartment, for two months before she went missing. We had a nice place. A warm apartment in a basement suite with a nice bed and TV. We weren't homeless."
Rix said Wilson had worked as a prostitute on the Downtown Eastside to feed an addiction to heroin. "She didn't want me to control her, so I said, okay, fine, I'll spot for you. Anytime you go out I'm coming and I looked every bastard in the eye when she got in a car and I made sure they knew I knew who they were.
"I told her, the reason you're alive is because I'm here. If I wasn't here, you'd be dead. There's 40 girls missing right now, you'd be number 20 or something.
"And sure enough, she ended up number 50.
"The addiction to the heroin ... overcomes the fear of being murdered -- that's what she told me."
© Copyright 2002 Vancouver Sun
Updated: September 16, 2014