Edmonton killer preying on prostitutes - Canada
A police map shows where women's bodies were found in Edmonton,
where one or more serial killers has been preying on sex-trade workers since 1983.
In Edmonton, where a serial murderer is loose, sex workers fear they'll be next victim
January 06, 2008

Western Canada Bureau Chief

Vancouver–Of the many painful lessons learned on the long and slow path that led to Robert Pickton's arrest and conviction, this may be the saddest:

In Edmonton, where another serial killer is preying on women, sex trade workers are voluntarily giving police samples of their DNA so their bodies can be more quickly identified if they're killed.

The discovery of human remains at the Pickton pig farm in Port Coquitlam, B.C., hit home for many. "It was a war zone out there at the Pickton farm," said Carol-Lynn Strachan, a sex-trade worker and advocate in Edmonton.

"There are war zones still all over cities in the west. Killing fields where women's bodies are found."

Since 1983, the bodies of 20 women have been found in the Edmonton area. JoAnn McCartney, a retired vice cop on the Edmonton police force who now runs a program to help women who work on the streets, said the voluntary DNA collection is used only for identification, not to aid any other police enforcement.

"It's to identify you so your family has some closure. And the faster we can do that, the quicker we can ask questions about your most recent activities and start the investigation," she said.

"It's basic: Women involved in prostitution are vulnerable, vulnerable to be murdered."

Pickton's conviction brought little solace to families of his other alleged victims. Ottawa resident Pam Eyre started a petition on New Year's Eve urging B.C.'s attorney general to go ahead with a second trial against Pickton for the murders of 20 other women. Families of some of those women worry his conviction last month in the deaths of six women may persuade the Crown to drop the next set of charges. "A second trial should go on, we still need answers," said Marilyn Kraft, the stepmother of Cindy Feliks, one of the other 20 women. The petition has received 400 signatures in less than a week.

Geoff Gaul, a spokesperson for the Criminal Justice branch in B.C., said the trial is proceeding.

"What happens in the future remains to be seen. Right now, this is an active court case," he said yesterday. Pickton is scheduled to appear in B.C. Supreme Court Jan. 24 so a date can be set for the second trial.

Meanwhile, dozens of women go missing every year.

In Edmonton, Thomas Svekla, a 39-year-old former tire store worker, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Theresa Innes and Rachel Quinney. But that has provided little reassurance to women who work on the streets. Police believe more than one person is responsible for the murders.

In Winnipeg, police are probing 16 homicides involving women who either worked in the sex trade or may have been mistaken for sex-trade workers by their killer.

In British Columbia, 18 women have gone missing or been found dead along a stretch of Yellowhead Highway 16 now known as the Highway of Tears. In some cases, the disappearances date back to 1969. Last October, RCMP said they've expanded the list of women missing and broadened the area where a killer may be picking up victims.

Since Pickton's conviction, Tony Romeyn, a Prince George businessman who runs a website dedicated to the Highway of Tears victims has been getting more emails. "There is greater awareness that if more and more people get talking to each other, we may find answers," he said.

In Winnipeg, Gloria Enns, the program manager at Sage House, a resource and outreach centre for sex-trade workers, said despite the publicity over Pickton's verdict, too often women – especially native women – can go missing and their disappearances barely register.

"The sad thing is we can predict many of the deaths and disappearances," she said. "The reality is we may have a dozen or two dozen Picktons running around Winnipeg. He was just one guy. There are others out there and that's something we know for sure."

© Copyright Toronto Star 1996-2008

Sex Trade Workers of Canada
Where have my sisters gone?
Hazel8500 Maps (A Work In Progress)
YellowHead Route:
Highway of Tears
DTES (alleged) Victims Of Robert Pickton
Unsolved Canada
CBC - Edmonton's murdered women
Prime Time Crime - Edmonton murders
Missing and Murdered Women
Edmonton Murders
Flickr - Joshua Tree


Robert "Willie" Pickton should stand trial for remaining 20 murder charges he faces
1066 Signatures

Published by Pam Eyre on Jan 01, 2008
Category: Law & Order
Region: Canada
Target: New Westminster, BC Crown Prosecutors/Attorney-General Wally Oppal
On February 22, 2002, Robert Pickton was charged with the first two of what would eventually become 26 First-degree murder charges.

These charges were for the murders of Serena Abotsway and Mona Wilson. On December 9, 2007 Robert Pickton was convicted of six counts of second-degree murder for killing or having a hand in killing Sereena Abotsway, Mona Wilson, Andrea Joesbury, Brenda Ann Wolfe, Georgina Faith Papin and Marnie Frey.

As of December 10, 2007 neither the Crown nor Attorney-General Wally Oppal have determined if Robert Pickton would stand trial for the remaining 20 first-degree murder charges he faces. The trial date for the murder of these 20 women is scheduled to be set on January 17, 2008.

The names of the 20 women Robert Pickton is charged with killing are:

Andrea Borhaven
Heather Bottomley
Heather Chinnock
Wendy Crawford
Sarah deVries
Tiffany Drew
Cara Ellis
Cynthia Feliks
Jennifer Furminger
Inga Hall
Helen Hallmark
Tanya Holyk
Sherry Irving
Angela Jardine
Patricia Johnson
Debra Jones
Kerry Koski
Jacquelene McDonell
Diana Melnick
Dianne Rock
We, the undersigned, call on the New Westminster, BC Crown and British Columbia Attorney-General Wally Oppal to pursue the first-degree murder trial against Robert Pickton for the alleged murders of 20 women as scheduled to begin January 17, 2008.

Each and every woman deserves justice, society deserves justice and family members absolutely deserves to see justice done. There is no other way for the hundreds of family members to find closure.

Robert Pickton must stand trial so that all relevant evidence can be properly tested and so that the families affected may see justice done.




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

Updated: August 21, 2016