‘Bright young woman’ among victims

Young addict left behind a one-year-old son

Michael Friscolanti
National Post

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

Jacqueline McDonell

Like so many of the 50 women who have disappeared from a seedy neighbourhood in Vancouver's east end, Jacqueline Mcdonell, Heather Bottomley and Diane Rock were drug addicts who sold their bodies to support their habits.

Chances are they even passed one another a few times while working the night shift on the city's downtown street corners.

Yesterday, the three prostitutes were linked together once again when British Columbia prosecutors added their names to the growing list of Robert William Pickton's alleged murder victims.

"It's very hard," said Elaine Allan, a women's support worker who met Mcdonell shortly before she disappeared in January, 1999. "I know she's been missing for a long time, but this makes it very real. She's not going to show up. She wasn't on a road trip to Mexico. This confirms it."

Mcdonell, who was 23 when she vanished, was originally from Toronto and had only been in Vancouver for a few months when Allan met her at the Women's Information Safe House (WISH), a drop-in centre for street workers.

"She didn't seem like a hard-core addict, at least not yet," said Allan, who remembers the short redhead mentioning a one-year-old son. "That's what's so tragic about her. She looked like she was going to bounce in and then bounce out of the scene. Then, when I found out she went missing, it was really heartbreaking.

"She was extremely bright, well-read and adventurous," she added. "She was so out of place on the street because she was such an articulate, fresh, bright young woman."

Prosecutors believe Mcdonell died sometime between Jan. 21, 1999, and Feb. 5, 2002, when forensic detectives first arrived at Mr. Pickton's farm.

Court documents filed yesterday also accuse Pickton of killing 25-year-old Heather Bottomley, an addict whom prosecutors believe died sometime between March 21, 2001, and the day Pickton's property was raided.

Diane Rock, a 34-year-old prostitute, rounded out the list of missing women mentioned in court yesterday. The curly haired brunette, who disappeared last October but was not reported missing until just before Christmas, is believed to have died sometime after Oct. 19, 2001.

"Diane came in regularly," Karen Duddy, the executive director of WISH, said yesterday. "Heather, I look at her picture and I'm sure she was here, but we get so many women through that we have such a hard time knowing all their names."

© Copyright 2002 National Post

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