Task force steps up Pickton farm search

Monday, March 17, 2003

VANCOUVER (CP) -- Police are doubling the number of anthropology specialists searching a 5.6-hectare farm property in suburban Port Coquitlam owned by accused serial killer Robert Pickton.

Dozens of officers have been aided by 50 archaelogy experts in the search for human remains at the property for months. Now the team of scientists is being doubled. (Global BC)

The joint RCMP-Vancouver police task force is hiring 51 anthropologists from across Canada to join the 52 who have been searching the property since June 3.

Some 25 of the new specialists started working on the property early this month, while 26 will begin in early May, the task force said in a news release Monday.

Their job is to thoroughly search the soil on the property looking for evidence such as human bone fragments.

Police say additional equipment will double the search capacity of the investigation on the property, which began in February 2002.

The preliminary hearing for the man accused of being Canada's most prolific serial killer continues under a publication ban in Port Coquitlam provincial court.

Robert Pickton is accused of murdering 15 women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. They were on a list of more than 60 women who have disappeared from the seedy neighbourhood in the last two decades.

The specialists are painstakingly searching the property, which was divided into 216 grid boxes, each 20 by 20 metres square.

The searchers will be using new equipment, including screeners and conveyor belts, which will enable them to thoroughly search the soil for anything that holds potential evidentiary value, police said in a news release.

The search began in February 2002 after the task force executed a search warrant on the property.

Besides the 103 anthropology specialists, there are 36 investigators and support staff on the site.

Pickton has been in custody since his arrest shortly after the search began. Police expect it to continue until at least this fall.

 Copyright 2003 The Canadian Press



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