B.C. Murder Suspect to Show in Court

By MARK KARJALUOTO, Associated Press Writer

February 24, 2002


Dawn Crey

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Ernie Crey hopes that answers to his younger sister's disappearance may finally be coming, as the man charged with murdering two of 50 missing women in Vancouver is to appear in court Monday.

Crey's sister Dawn disappeared in November 2000, and the ensuing 15 months provided no answers to what happened. He said Sunday that now there is at least some progress toward finding out with the first suspect in custody.

Robert Pickton, 52, is scheduled to appear in court Monday on two charges of first-degree murder involving two of the women who started vanishing from this western Canadian city's seedy east side as far back as 1983.

Police have yet to say who Pickton is accused of killing, or what evidence found at the pig farm owned by Pickton and his siblings 20 miles east of Vancouver caused them to file the charges.

Crey said police told him neither of the women Pickton has been charged with killing is Dawn, who would be 43 if still alive. He knows the case so far has uncovered nothing new about his sister, a longtime heroin addict who turned to prostitution.

Still, the 52-year-old Crey said in a soft voice, just seeing Pickton in court would offer some comfort -- a sign police were making progress in their investigation of the vanished women.

"I've thought about that a lot," he said in a telephone interview. "I can't but help but wonder, late at night, if this is the son of a bitch that might have taken my sister's life."

Crey insisted that nothing has been proven against Pickton, but he said that if the suspect is guilty, he wants to look at him and send a non-verbal message.

"I would want him to know that if he is responsible, and I'm not saying he is, that my sister has a family that cared about her -- that she just wasn't a worthless person whose life could be taken with impunity," he said.

Pickton and his brother operated a drinking club frequented by bikers and prostitutes near their farm, which now has a makeshift shrine to the missing women of candles, flowers and cards outside the gates.

He was arrested Friday on the murder charges. The arrests came more than two weeks after a police task force launched an investigation at the 10-acre farm that turned it into a virtual crime lab.

Police had no further comment Sunday.

Known as Willy, Pickton and his younger brother Dave ran "Piggy's Palace" -- a place to party for those familiar with Vancouver's mean streets -- in an old building they owned near the farm.

Pickton was charged in 1997 with attempted murder, accused of stabbing a drug-addicted prostitute in his home, but the charges were dropped.

Through their lawyer, Robert and Dave Pickton have denied any involvement in the disappearances. Dave Pickton told a Vancouver newspaper his brother often befriended prostitutes out of kindness.

Rebecca Guno disappeared in June 1983, the first of 50 women -- most of them drug addicts and prostitutes -- to vanish from the Vancouver area. The disappearances increased in frequency in 1997 and 1998, with nine women vanishing in each of those years.

Dawn Crey's life was never easy. She went to a foster home at age 3 with one sister after their father died, Ernie said. That family, who ran a chicken farm, abused the children physically and psychologically, he said.

A second foster home proved better, so much so that Dawn permitted her foster parents to adopt the child she bore as a teen-ager, Ernie said.

Most of Dawn's adult life was on the east Vancouver streets, he said.

Police started investigating Pickton's farm on Feb. 6 after a search of the property brought weapons charges and evidence linked to some of the missing women.

Crey called it a "grim, dreadful place" of large mounds of earth and dilapidated buildings.

"I don't like to think she might have come to an end in such an awful setting," he said.

Copyright 2002 Associated Press

Pig farmer charged in missing women case-Feb 22, 2002



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