Police seek help finding 9 more Vancouver women

Search expands as multi-murder investigation continues at pig farm

By Daniel Girard

Friday, July 26, 2002

VANCOUVER The search is expanding for women missing from Vancouver's skid row in a case that has led already to seven murder charges against a suburban pig farmer.

Police yesterday appealed to the public for any information on the whereabouts of nine women who disappeared from Vancouver's downtown eastside between 1978 and 1998 and warned that five more may soon be added to those already officially missing.

That means within weeks the number of missing women mainly drug addicts and prostitutes could hit 68 in one of the largest criminal investigations in Canadian history.

Robert William Pickton, 52, owner of a pig farm in Port Coquitlam at the centre of an intense forensic probe, faces seven charges of first-degree murder in connection with women on that list. He has said he's innocent on all counts.

A preliminary hearing for Pickton is set for November.

"These nine women fit the profile of the women that we're looking for," RCMP Constable Cate Galliford told a news conference, called to release the nine names. "This is sort of the last step in our attempts to locate them."

Relatives of eight of the nine women named yesterday have been contacted, she said.

For a year, officers with the RCMP-Vancouver police missing women's task force have been reviewing hundreds of old files on people who disappeared in the city and province.

This spring, they made public the names of five women, eventually locating one alive and adding the other four to the list of the missing, which brought the official total of 54.

Separately, since February, the ongoing review of files helped police locate 21 women 18 alive in Canada and one alive in Borneo as well as two dead, of causes unrelated to the case.

"Many of these women made a conscious decision to make a break from their past lives," Galliford said. "This means many families and friends have found closure, or peace of mind, just in the past six months."

Those 21 women were never on the police list of women officially missing.

Pickton is charged with killing women who disappeared in 1999 and more recently.

Police have said they found human remains at Pickton's farm 35 kilometres east of Vancouver, where they expect their forensic search to last at least a year.

Galliford would not say whether investigators found any human remains, or DNA, at the pig farm that does not match the seven women Pickton is accused of killing.

She also would not say how many of the 54 considered missing are linked to the site.

Investigators have obtained DNA samples of all 54 women on the list and of their families, travelling as far as Colorado and Louisiana to do so, Galliford said.

A second Pickton property nearby is also being searched.

The news of nine more eastside women disappearing was received with sadness, but no surprise by family and friends of the missing. Many of them have complained bitterly for years that police were taking too long to probe their loved ones' disappearances because most were drug addicts and prostitutes.

"It's very frustrating," said Wayne Leng, a friend of Sarah deVries, who disappeared in April, 1998, at age 28, and is still on the missing list.

"Many of us have always thought that the list would grow, that police weren't even scratching the surface of this case."

Leng, who runs a Web site  dedicated to the women, said every time there's news in the case it brings so many raw emotions back to the surface.

"It's just an empty feeling, one of total loss of somebody you loved and cared about, because you don't know for sure if they're dead or not," Leng said from Los Angeles, where he now lives.

"And, now, my God, nine more families will have to go through this.

"How many more will there be?"

The nine women police want help locating are:

Lillian Jean O'Dare, 34 when last seen Sept. 12, 1978. (No photo.)

Wendy Louise Allen, 33 when last seen, March 30, 1979.

Yvonne Marlene Abigosis, 26 when last seen, Jan. 1, 1984.

Linda Louise Grant, 31 when last seen, October, 1984.

Sheryl Donahue, 21 when last seen, May 30, 1985. (No photo.)

Teresa Louis Triff, 23 when last seen, April 15, 1993.

Dawn Lynn Cooper, 32 when last seen in 1996.

Richard "Kellie" Little, a transsexual, 28 when last seen on April 23, 1997.

Tanya Colleen Emery, 34 when last seen on Dec. 1, 1998.

If not found, they will be listed officially as missing.

Courtesy of Toronto Star 



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

Updated: August 21, 2016