Candlelight vigil will commemorate Diane Rock



Wednesday, October 16, 2002

A candlelight vigil will be held Saturday for Diane Rock, the fomer Welland woman who is an alleged victim of accused serial killer Robert William ?Willy' Pickton.


It will be in Memorial Park's pavilion section at 7:30 p.m., said Lilliane Beaudoin of Welland, one of Rock's siblings.

The vigil is on Saturday because the date, Oct. 19, is the first anniversary of Rock's disappearance in Vancouver.

Hymns, reflections and remembrances about Rock's life, a candlelighting ceremony and release of balloons will highlight the vigil.

Lilliane said 15 white candles will be lit in memory of the 15 women who police allege were murdered by Picton. Purple candles will be lit in memory of the 48 women whose names are still on the list of missing women.

White and purple balloons will be released during the vigil, the Beaudoins said. Each will have a tiny slip of paper inside bearing the name of a victim or a missing woman and the date of her disappearance.

Welland's Rene and Lillian Beaudoin are holding a candlelight vigil Saturday at Memorial Park in memory of Diane Rock./Staff photo J.T. Lewis

Police with the Missing Womens Task Force have told Beaudoin and her husband Rene that Rock was last seen Oct. 19, 2001 by the owner of the motel where she was living.

Lilliane believes the motel was in or near Vancouver's seedy East Side neighbourhood.

Police say 63 women, most of them drug-addicted prostitutes, have gone missing from there since about 1980, 38 in the last six years.

Pickton has been charged with murdering 15 of the women whose names were on the list.

Police charged Pickton with the pretty, petite former Wellander's murder after finding DNA evidence at the now notorious pig farm property he co-owns in Port Coquitlam, B.C.

Rock's body has never been found, Lilliane Beaudoin said.

Rock, her husband and three children moved to British Columbia about 10 years ago for a fresh start in life, the Beaudoins said in interviews as Rock's connection to the alleged serial killings began to unfold.

But in their new home, Rock's personal problems resurfaced and she was back using drugs again, the Beaudoins said. After a while her marriage fell apart and Rock was on her own.

One of Rock's daughters was the last family member to see her alive.

That was in June, 2001 when Rock met her to celebrate the teen's birthday.

The past year has become a tormenting litany of dates and events for the Beaudoins who act as spokepersons for Rock's adoptive mother and the other siblings in the family where she was welcomed as an infant and warmly embraced.

Three of those dates are January 15, 2002, when investigators added Rock's name to the list of missing women; April 1, 2002, when police notified one of Rock's daughters that Pickford was being charged with her murder; and April 2, when the Beaudoins received the news.

One date sitll ahead of them is November 4, when Pickton's preliminary hearing is set to start.


"There won't ever be closure"


As bright as Lilliane and Rene Beaudoin's kitchen is with sunlight bathing part of the room in warmth and an array of cheery photos showing family members wearing beaming smiles, a pall hangs over it.

It's here that the Fourth Street residents talk about Diane Rock, Lilliane's sister, who police have named as one of accused serial killer Robert Picton's 15 victims.

For the Beaudoins, these past few weeks have been taken up with making plans for Saturday's candlelight vigil in Memorial Park.

"It will give us a date," Lilliane said glumly over coffee, about the significance of the event.

They do not have a date of death to mark the close of Rock's life. Instead, they have Saturday's date, the 19th, because it is the first anniversary of when she disappeaRed.

"It will give me a date to officially say goodbye to my sister," Lilliane said.

Husband Rene, whom Lilliane credits for much of the preparations for Saturday evening's vigil, says they wish it could be more.

"We're not using the word closure because there won't ever be closure to this. It's always going to be there," Rene said.

Beaudoin, 52, this day is showing the strain of what he says has been a "tough year" for his family. First it was learned Jan. 15 that Rock's name was on the list of missing women. Then they learned April 2 that Pickton had been charged with her murder.

Then came Rene's layoff April 14 from Newman Metal Processing in St. Catharines where he'd worked since 1970, but has not worked since then. Then they paused for what would have been Rock's 35th birthday Sept. 2. And then his mother's death three weeks ago after a heart attack.

"So our family's been hit with some pretty heavy stuff, but so far we've been able to roll with the punches," he said.

For Saturday's vigil, the Beaudoins have distributed about 30 posters around town. It shows a picture of a smiling Rock from happier days. It ends with the Beaudoins asking for community support: "Let us show the families of this tragedy that Welland and the surrounding area cares."

They have no idea how many people will attend the vigil. They have planned it meticulously, lining up music, the guest speakers, a script that will be read, a candlelighting ceremony and a release of memorial balloons.

But their ordeal does not end after Saturday night.

After the vigil is over, the Beaudoins will turn their thoughts fulltime to November 4, when Pickton's preliminary hearing starts.

Lilliane hopes to be there as the representative of their mother Ella Marin, but there are uncertainties to be resolved.

She said family members have been told the preliminary hearing will take place in a 90-seat courtroom. She said 30 seats are being allotted to family members of the 15 murdered women, which means two seats per family. Thirty seats are being set aside for the public and 30 seats for the media.

Lilliane said she has learned Rock's ex-husband Darren wants to attend the preliminary, as does one of her daughters. Before she goes to British Columbia, Lilliane wants to know how the two seats will be used. As the representative of Rock's adoptive mother, Beaudoin thinks one seat should be allocated to her.

Both she and Rene said issues like this could be avoided if more seats were made avalable to family members of the victims, or if a video link with the courtroom could be set up so that family members or others could watch the proceedings from another room.

"Being so far away from what is going on is very, very difficult for us all," Lilliane said sadly, the sun lighting up the kitchen behind her.

 Copyright  2002 Welland Tribune

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

Updated: August 21, 2016