VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Meat from Canada Farm May Have Had Human Remains
Wednesday Mar 10, 2004
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Pork products processed and distributed from the farm of accused Canadian serial killer Robert Pickton may have contained human remains, police and health officials said on Wednesday.
Pickton raised and slaughtered pigs at the Port Coquitlam farm as a part-time occupation until his arrest at the property in February 2002, and police believe he gave or sold processed meat products to friends and acquaintances.
Pickton, 53, is awaiting trial in the killings of at least 22 of more than 60 missing Vancouver prostitutes who disappeared over the past decade and are feared to have been murdered at the dilapidated farm 20 miles east of Vancouver.
"Given the state of the farm, and what we know about the investigation, we cannot rule out the possibility that cross-contamination may have occurred," B.C. provincial Health Officer Perry Kendall told reporters in Victoria.
"Cross-contamination could mean that human remains did get into or contaminate some of the pork meat," Kendall said.
Officials stressed that the farm's pig slaughtering operation was not officially licensed and he did not sell processed meat to retail outlets.
"There is no evidence we are dealing with anything other than a very specific localized issue, with a specific number of local people," said Cpl. Catherine Galliford of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Kendall said he was not contacted by the police until last month when they asked a "hypothetical question' about the potential health risk. He issued the alert when they later said it probably happened.
Details of evidence from the farm were presented in court last year at Pickton's preliminary hearing, but a court order prohibits reporters who covered the hearing from publishing details of what they heard until it is used in his trial, which will likely not start until next year.
Police defended the timing of their contacting health officials, saying it was needed to protect the investigation, although they also acknowledged more people may have received meat from Pickton than they had originally thought.
"We have carefully considered all the issues," said Vancouver Police Detective Shelia Sullivan.
Pickton is officially charged with 15 murders but prosecutors have said seven more counts are waiting to be filed. Tests have identified the DNA of nine more women, but not yet resulted in charges.
The victims were among more than 60 drug-addicted prostitutes who disappeared from Vancouver's poor Downtown Eastside neighborhood. Families of the missing women expressed horror at the news, with one telling a Vancouver radio station bluntly. "I'm not eating dinner tonight."
Pickton, in custody since his arrest, is the only person charged in the case. He has not entered a plea to the criminal charges but denied wrongdoing in a related civil lawsuit.
Alert issued over meat from Pickton farm
WebPosted Mar 10 2004 04:33 PM PST
VICTORIA - B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall says human remains may have ended up in meat from the pig farm at the centre of Vancouver's missing women's case.
The farm in suburban Port Coquitlam is co-owned by Robert Pickton, his brother and his sister.
He has been charged with 15 counts of first-degree murder – and the Crown has announced plans to charge him with the murders of seven more women.
Those charges were laid after DNA of several women missing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside were found at his farm.
Dr. Kendall says there's a possibility of cross-contamination of meat produced at the farm.
Kendall says the meat was never distributed commercially. But about 40 of Pickton's friends and neighbours ate meat from the farm during barbecues or were given some to take home.
Kendall adds that tests on samples show a very low risk of disease from the meat, especially if it was cooked – and there's no evidence if any disease transmission related to the case.
He's calling on anyone in possession of frozen pork products from Pickton's farm to contact the Missing Women's Task Force at 1-877-687-3377.
Pickton is not expected to go to trial until late this year or early in 2005.
Missing Women Joint Task Force Seeks Help
March 10, 2004
Statement issued by Missing Women Joint Task Force at 5:00 pm in Vancouver
(Cpl. Catherine Galliford - RCMP Missing Women Spokesperson): The first thing
we would like to say, is that we apologize to the families of the missing women
involved in our investigation. A leak of information to the news media today,
from an unknown source, created a situation in which many family members were
suddenly being contacted by news reporters without first getting the facts from
Catherine Galliford, Cpl.
Webmaster "E", Division
Updated: August 21, 2016