Saturday, June 8, 2002
Compiled by Lindsay Kines and Kim Bolan
Between 1983 and 2001 at least 54 women went missing from Vancouver's Downtown
Eastside. Many of them worked in the sex trade and struggled with addiction.
Here are some important dates in the police investigation:
July, 1998 -- Vancouver police say they are concerned about the number of
missing women from the Downtown Eastside. The force assigns a second detective
to the missing persons section to focus on the case.
July, 1999 -- Under mounting pressure from families of the missing women, police
and the attorney-general release a poster offering a $100,000 reward for
information in the case. The poster has 31 women on it.
April, 2001 -- After downsizing its investigation, the Vancouver Police
department hands the missing women case over to the RCMP to be reviewed.
September, 2001 -- The Vancouver Sun launches an 11-part series on the missing
women case, revealing that the numbers of women could be as high as 45 and that
the original Vancouver police investigation was deficient -- assigned to
inexperienced and overworked officers without the time or resources to do a
December, 2001 -- The joint RCMP-Vancouver Police review team confirms The Sun's
findings and raises the number of missing women to 45. Police say the review
team is now a task force with 16 investigators and five support staff.
January, 2002 -- The task force adds five more names to the list, bringing the
total number of missing women to 50, and expands its team to 30 investigators.
Feb. 5, 2002 -- Police looking for firearms launch a massive search of a Port
Coquitlam farm, at 953 Dominion Avenue, partly owned by Robert (Willy) Pickton,
who police sources tell The Sun is a person of interest in the case first
identified to them in 1998.
Feb. 22, 2002 -- Two counts of first-degree murder are laid against Pickton in
the deaths of Mona Wilson and Sereena Abbotsway. Both disappeared in 2001.
March 28, 2002 -- Police say they are considering adding five more names to the
list of the missing. One of the women is later confirmed to be alive and well.
April 2, 2002 -- During a regular court appearance, Pickton is charged with
killing Heather Bottomley, Diane Rock and Jaquilene McDonell. Rock and Bottomley
disappeared in 2001, while McDonell went missing in January 1999.
April 9, 2002 -- Pickton is charged with a sixth count of first degree murder in
the death of Andrea Joesbury. Police confirmed some of Joesbury's remains had
been found at the Port Coquitlam farm.
April 17, 2002 -- Police execute a search warrant on a second Port Coquitlam
property partially owned by Pickton, on Burns Road.
May 11, 2002 -- The Sun reports that dozens of archeology students with training
in identifying human bone are being hired to help with an expanded search at the
Dominion Avenue property. Retired police officers are also being offered
May 22, 2002 -- Pickton is charged with a seventh count of first degree murder,
in the death of Brenda Ann Wolfe, who was originally from Alberta and last seen
in the Downtown Eastside in February 1999.
June 6, 2002 -- Using heavy machinery, two conveyor belts and dozens of
additional experts and technicians, the task force begins excavating the
Dominion Avenue property owned by Pickton and his two siblings.
Courtesy of the Vancouver Sun