VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Murdered woman's family needs answers
Relatives attend trial, travel to farm
The sorrow hanging in the air at a former Port Coquitlam pig farm was all Lilliane Beaudoin could feel as she stood at the gate.
Through the wire fence that blocked the entrance, all she could see was dirt. The ground had been levelled.
She couldn't see any sign of a structure. No sign of a trailer, animal slaughterhouse or any other building alleged to have played a role in the gruesome deaths of dozens of women.
She couldn't see any sign of where her sister, Dianne (Marin) Rock, might have experienced her final moments. "On the way there, you think to yourself, 'This is her last path. This is the last road she took in her life,'" Beaudoin says. "These were the gateways where she entered the property, where she thought she was going to be safe."
Rock is one of 26 women accused serial killer Robert Pickton is charged with murdering. The petite, pretty, 34-year-old mother of five was last seen Oct. 19, 2001. Pickton was arrested in February 2002.
Police have told Rock's family that her DNA was found on Pickton's British Columbia pig farm. But exactly what that is -- a tooth, a hair strand, or something more substantial -- the family doesn't know.
At the entrance to the former farm, Beaudoin stood firm, arms linked with workers from the Victims' Services and Community Programs agency. They cried and talked for half an hour. She released so much of what had built up in the years since her sister's disappearance.
Her mother, Ella Marin, watched from the car. She did not want to come to the gate.
For Beaudoin, the morning was part of a week-long culmination, which included attending the Pickton trial, in the search for answers about her sister's life and death.
Rock joined the Marin family when she was just six weeks old and was adopted by the time she was four. She was raised in Welland and struggled when she was young, but had been doing well in Vancouver. A rough divorce hit her hard and she backslid into drugs and began working in the sex trade. She was only on the streets a matter of months before she disappeared.
Although Pickton is charged with her death, a decision to sever the cases means Rock's case is not being tried as part of the first six. Hers is one of 20 cases that will be tried at a later date. The decision to sever the cases is one the family has never agreed with.
Late last month, Beaudoin and her mother travelled from Welland to the site of the trial in New Westminster, B.C. to find whatever answers they could and show their support for other families of victims.
They wanted to make sure Rock was not just a name. She had a history and a family who loved her, just like all of the women.
Victims' Services paid for the trip.
For nearly five hours a day, the pair sat in the second row of the courtroom, Pickton less than two metres away, blocked by a glass wall and a see-through prisoner's box.
"Through the whole time, not once did he even give anyone a glance," Beaudoin says.
As she listened to what was found on the farm -- blood spatters, condoms and syringes -- she would think this was somehow part of her sister's story.
Sometimes she would hold her mother's hand, other times she would just ask her if it was too much.
"My purpose was to get the most meaningful (experience) out of this I could," Beaudoin says. "And if that meant for me to sit in that courtroom, to be tortured, day by day, that's what I was going to do."
The pair visited a memorial site dedicated to all of the women who have been murdered. They also took a slow drive down the notorious Hastings Street, where Beaudoin watched girls huddled on corners, tucked in alleyways shooting up or searching for a fix.
She was reminded of Vancouver two days after she came home, when murdered sex trade worker Stephine Isabelle Beck, 29, was found in nearby Vineland.
The discovery scared her, Beaudoin says, and felt like deja vu.
Still, facing the trial, the memorial and the farm have helped Beaudoin start the healing process.
She's calmer now. Even though she doesn't have all the answers, she has some,and she'll continue the fight for more.
"We're a family that needs to know," Beaudoin says.
"We don't need to know the full gruesome details, no. But we still need for them to prove to me my sister was murdered by him on that farm."
Updated: August 21, 2016