VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Pickton farm yields 23rd woman’s DNA
The day Sto:lo leader Ernie Crey has dreaded arrived yesterday with confirmation that his sister Dawn Crey's DNA had been found at the farm of accused serial killer Robert Pickton.
Crey, the first high-profile aboriginal leader to speak out when women began disappearing from the Downtown Eastside in the early 1990s, has been a strong voice for victims' families since his sister disappeared in November 2000.
Yesterday, the tragedy of the 61 women who have gone missing from the Downtown Eastside, including 22 who have been named in first-degree murder charges against Pickton, came home to Crey brutally as police confirmed the death of Dawn on the Port Coquitlam pig farm where Pickton, now 53, ran a slaughterhouse and junkyard.
No new victims alleged to have died at the Pickton farm have been named in more than a year.
RCMP Staff-Sgt. Murray Lunn and Sandy Jaremchuk of Police Victim Services of B.C. visited the Crey family yesterday.
"The analysis and comparison to confirm my sister Dawn's DNA at the Pickton farm was reached fairly recently, but from what the police have told us, we now know that Dawn's life obviously came to an end at that terrible place," said Ernie Crey, the eldest of six surviving Crey siblings.
He notified his six children and other relatives, who plan to gather to mourn Dawn, a Cheam band member, with the aid of a spiritual leader in the traditional Sto:lo way.
"I know that some of my younger brothers and sisters held out hope for Dawn, but in our hearts we also anticipated this day," said Crey.
"We thank the police and appreciate that they are still analyzing evidence. We hope charges will be laid."
Police also visited Dawn's younger sister, Lorraine Crey, now the manager of an east-side native housing co-op, who was close to Dawn and was in tears yesterday recalling her beloved sister, who disappeared at age 43.
Lorraine Crey lights candles in memory of her sister. 'I sit on my balcony every night and talk to her,' she said Thursday, 'and last week I said, "Dawn you've got to surface. "You've got to show yourself, I', exhausted and I can't take this anymore."'
CREDIT: Ric Ernst, The Province
"Dawn was a very beautiful, vibrant young woman, really brave and strong, but she was haunted by the fact that our father died with his head in her lap when she was only five; and then our family just blew apart," said Lorraine.
The Crey children were split up into abusive and uncaring foster homes, although Dawn finally found a good home with Jake and Marie Wiebe of Chilliwack, who later adopted Dawn's son, John, born when she was just 16.
Rebellious as a teen, Dawn stayed close to Lorraine and followed her sister to Vancouver after Lorraine enrolled in a professional-development course. Dawn, still troubled, drifted into drug abuse on the Downtown Eastside.
"Dawn and I were planning her 43rd birthday on Oct. 26 and then she was gone," said Lorraine. "I searched everywhere for her."
Dawn's last address was the Roosevelt Hotel.
"I sit on my balcony every night and talk to her, and last week I said, 'Dawn, you've got to surface. You've got to show yourself. I'm exhausted and I can't take this anymore,'" said Lorraine.
"Then I get this news.
"It will never leave my mind how she died, but I have good memories of Dawn, how caring and forgiving she was, how she always said she'd kill the person who ever sold me drugs. She loved her son John and I know she loved me. I'll always miss her."
Pickton is expected to go to trial late this year or early in 2005.
© Copyright 2004 The Province
Updated: January 01, 2007