Where have all the women gone?

The disappearance of women from Vancouverís Downtown Eastside still a huge question mark

March 26, 2001
By Penny Dyck


Here it is the end March 2001, and still no sign of close to thirty women, (or more) who have disappeared without a trace, since 1986 (or earlier), and there seems to be no clue as to where, or what has become of them. In the past month and a half, three more women have been reported missing.

The Downtown Eastside Womenís Centre says their files show that approximately 129 women have vanished in the past nine years.

How can a person just vanish? How can so many just vanish into thin air?

Why would any of these women leave behind their babies, homes, families, bank accounts, and cheques from Social Services?

These are just some of the questions that relatives, friends, and acquaintances are asking about the missing women from Vancouverís poverty stricken Downtown Eastside.

What you may ask, has all this about missing women got to do with Sparwood? One of our own has gone missing, and has been missing since November 1998.

Deborah and Ivan Jardine of Sparwood are just a couple of the distraught parents of one of the missing women. Their daughter Angela was last seen November 20, 1998. Their lives, and that of their family, have never been the same since the day they were told by Eileen McWade, Angela's caseworker, that their daughter was missing.

Check out the site, which is dedicated to the memory of all the missing women from Vancouverís Downtown Eastside, and was started and maintained by Wayne Leng, a close friend of one of the women that has vanished. Also in their memory, on Portside Park, overlooking the harbor, a memorial stone is dedicated to all the Downtown Eastside murder victims and has been unofficially made into an altar.

The deadline for a reward of $100,000 offered in 1999 by, at the time, Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh, and the City of Vancouver, is quickly approaching. May 1, 2001 is just around the corner, and so far no one has come forward to lay claim to the reward.

Seems odd doesnít it, that no one knows anything, or has seen anything that would encourage them to come forward to collect such an amount of cash?

The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) has cut back the number of police that they had on the case in 1998. They are now down from nine officers to three officers working on the case of the missing women, and since then, three more women have gone missing. Isnít the safety of EVERYONE a right, and not an option? So why would the VPD downsize? Doesnít seem very logical, now does it, considering more women just keep disappearing.

On October 22,1998, the Mayor of Vancouver, and the Vancouver City Council approved a plan to add 40 more police officers over the course of three years, with a cost of the program being $7.2 million, to the distressed Downtown Eastside and its surrounding communities. It was to be financed jointly through the City contribution of $3.6 million, which was to be raised by adding an additional one percent increase to property tax, and a reallocation of $3.6 million in the existing Police Budget.

If that being the case, why then did 9 women go missing (thatís the number that is known to be reported missing) off the streets since October 1998, after more police were suppose to be patrolling that area?

Americaís Most Wanted featured a show on the women missing from the streets of Vancouver in July 1999.

Is this the work of a serial killer? Many believe it is. The VPD does not believe it is because there are no bodies, no sign of foul play, and just no evidence to point to a serial killer.

In February of this year, a special RCMP unit, which reviews unsolved homicides (RCMP Cold Squad), is said to be investigating the disappearances these women. Is it now the belief that these women did in fact meet with foul play?

Stephan Kraft, of Vancouver, B.C. is publishing a magazine that will be hitting the stands in the Vancouver region April 1, 2001, called The Lookout: The People Finder and Voice of the People Magazine - a magazine focusing on lost children, and featuring tips on how to prevent kids from running away.

Kraft knows what it is like to have a child disappear. In 1985 Kraftís girlfriend, kidnapped his four-year old son Jason. She was not the boyís mother. It was six months later that with the help of private detectives, the woman and child were finally tracked down and Kraft got his son back.

Kraft also knows what it is like to live as a street kid. "I left home at the age of 15 to avoid an abusive step-father, and lived on the streets until I was 18," Kraft says.

In the magazine, Kraft has designed a page for street kids to send messages to their parents.

Kraft says his magazine does not just cover missing kids, but also anyone facing social problems, including seniors, women, drug addicts, and street kids.

John Walsh of Americaís Most Wanted has endorsed Kraftís magazine The Lookout.

Because of the complexity of this story, The Mountainview Weekly will be presenting this story in segments over the next several weeks.

Time running out for reward-April 17, 2001

Magazine to focus on lost kids-April 1, 2001



Missing Women Tip Line: 1-877-687-3377

Updated: August 21, 2016