Vigil held for missing loved ones

International Day to end violence against women

On a day recognized around the world as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, a small group gathered yesterday in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside to remember missing and murdered women.

CREDIT: Wayne Leidenfrost, The Province

Joyce Lachance consoles Judy Trimble at yesterday's vigil for missing women at Crab Park in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

Under blue skies, family members of two women, alleged victims of Robert Pickton, decorated a Crab Park bench with Christmas decorations, played music, released balloons and remembered.

Lynn Frey, Marnie Frey's stepmom, said the gathering was to remember all the missing women and to regroup and gather strength for the last days of Pickton's murder trial this week.

"We decided to come here, do a little memorial and pray for peace," said Frey, standing beside the bench dedicated to some of Pickton's alleged victims.

Pickton is accused of murdering Frey, who was last seen in 1997. His trial on six first-degree murder charges is expected to wrap up late this week with closing arguments by the prosecution and the judge's directions to the jury.

Family of Cara Ellis, who was last seen in 1997, also attended the ceremony. Pickton is charged with Ellis's murder -- he is charged with 26 murders in total -- but has yet to face that charge in court.

Meanwhile, another ceremony was held last night in Langley to honour women who have suffered from domestic violence.

The candlelight remembrance was organized by the Ishtrar Transition Housing Society that runs two Langley homes for women escaping violence.

Event organizer Lilianne Fuller said 500 women stayed at the homes last year, many arriving with just their kids and the clothes on their backs.

"They are obviously very afraid. They are bringing a lot of fear with them," Fuller said. "They are escaping some very serious situations." Fuller hopes the day, designated by the United Nations and marked by events all over the world, will encourage people to take action against violence in their own lives.

"What people need to do is stand up and denounce any form of violence against women," she said. "And it starts with one person in one home, and it spreads."

 The Vancouver Province 2007



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

Updated: August 21, 2016