Apology rejected by Wellander at Pickton inquiry


December 10, 2011

WELLAND It's an anniversary that Rene and Lilliane Beaudoin did not want to commemorate.

It had been 10 years since Lilliane's sister, Diane (Marin) Rock, had gone missing in British Columbia. And a call from the Vancouver Police Department to the Beaudoin family home would forever change their lives.

"We were notified that Diane had been murdered and (Robert) Pickton was charged," said Rene, recalling the events of April 1, 2002, the day the family received the news.

"It broke my heart that I had to tell my wife of 40 years that her sister was dead."

Rock, 34 at the time, had moved to B.C. from Welland a decade prior to her disappearance to start a new life as a specialist working with developmentally delayed adults. Rock was reported missing in October 2001.

The last decade has been hard on the Beaudoins. On the 10th anniversary of Rock's death, the Welland couple found themselves in B.C. as part of an inquiry organized by the Missing Women Commission to investigate the delay by Vancouver Police Department and RCMP to catch Pickton. The killer was arrested in 2002 but the authorities had received tips about the notorious pig farmer since 1998.

Pickton, 62, is serving a life sentence for the murder of six women: Sereena Abotsway, Mona Lee Wilson, Andrea Joesbury, Brenda Wolfe, Marnie Frey and Georgina Papin.

Pickton was originally charged with 20 more murders, including Rock's, but the charges were stayed in 2010.

The killer's DNA had linked Pickton to the death of 33 women. It's believed he has killed up to 50 people.

Rene recently returned from a six-week stint in Vancouver where he supported his wife who recounted her pain on the stand during the inquiry. Police officials offered an apology to Lilliane during the inquiry.

"She wouldn't accept it. I knew she wouldn't," said Rene, noting Lilliane stayed longer in Vancouver to watch the inquiry. "She has attended every day. Knowing Diane will never come back will hang with my wife for the rest of her life."

Rene described the inquiry as emotionally draining as he and the families of the victims learned about the "flaws" behind the investigation. Rene said the inquiry revealed that Pickton was the No. 1 suspect in 1999 for the rash of murders and the Port Coquitlam farmer was under surveillance.

"Pickton was one of 500 suspects before 1998," Rene said. "After 1999 he was the No. 1 suspect."

Rock was the second last of the victims to be reported missing. DNA evidence and some of Rock's possessions were found on Pictkon's farm.

Despite the emotional stress caused by the inquiry, Rene said there was a united bond between the victims' families in attendance. The families would often meet to talk about the inquiry.

"We bonded big time," he said.

Rene hopes to be back in B.C. to attend the inquiry after it reconvenes, after the holiday break, on Jan. 15, 2012.




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

Updated: August 21, 2016