BC missing women's case

CanWest Global Transcripts

Friday, June 17, 2005

KEVIN NEWMAN: Well it also took years for police in another province to admit that they were looking for a serial killer. Through the 1980s and 90s dozens of women disappeared in British Columbia, many of them also living on the fringe of society. Weekend anchor Tara Nelson looks into how two serial murder cases have another pattern in common, seeming indifference on the part of police.

TARA NELSON (Reporter): It's Vancouver's most desperate neighbourhood, and from its here Rebecca Louise Aguno simply disappears. The 23 year old is the first person on Vancouver's list of missing women, vanishing from the downtown east side in 1983. But over the next eight years, seven more women would disappear, and only their families and friends would notice.

RAVEN BOWEN (Vancouver East Side Advocate): They're not seen as priorities. They're obviously societal throw aways.

NELSON: Police say they have nothing to investigate. They have no bodies, no witnesses, no crime scenes, no evidence. And many of the women aren't even reported missing until months or years later. But they continue to vanish at an alarming rate. Through the early to mid-90's, another dozen disappear. Serial killer expert Elliott Leyton says by this time the case is already showing some hallmark signs.

ELLIOTT LEYTON (Anthropologist): It's not unusual for a serial killer to be focused in one area. Typically, they do prey on a certain type of victim.

NELSON: In 1997, Port Coquitlam farmer Robert Willie Pickton is accused of trying to murder a sex trade worker. But the charges are stayed, partially because the woman won't testify. And over the next two years, nearly 20 more women vanish. As their families start to pressure the police department, a small investigative team is formed. The department's own geographic profiler concludes this is no coincidence.

KIM ROSSMO (Geographic Profiler): The most logical and simple explanation is there's some predator out there. Prostitutes are the number one target of serial killers.

NELSON: But Rossmo's theory is dismissed. Vancouver police do eventually form a task force with the RCMP. But by 2001, they still won't suggest a serial killer is on the loose.

CONSTABLE SARAH BLOOR (Vancouver Police): There's not a reluctance, there's, we just don't have any concrete fact to suggest that.

NELSON: Six months later, police discover human remains on Robert Pickton's farm. He now stands charged with 27 counts of first-degree murder. In Vancouver, this is Global's Tara Nelson reporting.




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

Updated: August 21, 2016