Three officers join hunt for missing women

The Vancouver Sun, Lindsay Kines and Lori Culbert, Wednesday, July 14, 1999.

     The Vancouver police department is also expected to release a wanted poster later this month announcing a $100,000 reward in the case of 20 vanished women.

     Vancouver city police have again expanded the number of officers investigating the disappearance of more than 20 women involved in drugs or the sex trade on the Downtown Eastside.

     The department recently added three more officers, bringing the number of full and part-time investigators to eight.

     Geographic and psychological profilers, and a civilian employee are also assisting in the case.

     Detective Constable Mark Wothers and Doug Fell, who joined the team last week, are former partners who played a key role in catching child killer Frank Roy three years ago.

     Homicide Sergeant Geramy Field, who overseas the missing persons section, said the two officers were added to the team because of their experience and contacts.

     “They used to have some good sources in the Mount Pleasant area when they worked together,” Field said.

     The other addition, Constable Alex Clark will catalogue all the information gathered by the investigators, media liaison Constable Anne Drennan said Tuesday.  Clark also has extensive experience on the Downtown Eastside.

     Field cautioned that the addition of three officers does not signal a major breakthrough in the case.  “It’s just given us more manpower to do what we wanted to do in the first place.  The department has seen fit to reassign some individuals to give us some help.”

     At least 20 women have disappeared from the Downtown Eastside since 1995, and the Vancouver police board recently approved a $100,000 reward to assist the investigation.

     Drennan said a poster announcing the reward is expected to be released the week of July 26.

     City lawyers have been struggling over the wording because police have no evidence that any of the women has met with foul play.  There are no crime scenes, and no bodies have been discovered.

     The reward poster will include pictures of all the women who have disappeared since 1995.

     Of those cases, two were reported to police this year, 10 in 1998, three in 1997, two in 1996 and three in 1995.

     Drennan said adding police officers with sources in the community and knowledge of the case could trigger someone’s memory or lead tonew information.  She said this will compliment the work of the homicide detectives, who will pursue the investigation from a much different angle.

     “Because we’ve got so little evidence, the possibilities are almost endless,” she said.  “So, we’re making sure we cover as many bases as we can.  And bringing in people familiar with the Downtown Eastside and the community we think may be the key.”

     It was an informant who tipped Fell and Wolthers to Roy in 1998 as a possible suspect in a number of unsolved prostitute murders.  The two officers passed their information on to major crime detectives, but Roy was never interviewed in the case.

Investigation turns up more missing women-Sept 21, 2001



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Updated: August 21, 2016