New Vancouver police chief flip-flops into first controversy

Friday, August 23, 2002

Vancouver - Vancouver's new police chief has amended his position on a missing women public inquiry.

In a Thursday TV interview Chief Jamie Graham said he would order an internal review of police handling of the disappearance of more than 50 women from Vancouver's downtown eastside. He added that he would not call for a public inquiry into the matter.

That statement sparked dismayed reaction from some missing women's relatives and was followed by a series of clarifications from the Chief's spokespeople.

Shortly after the Thursday evening broadcast Police media liason Detective Scott Driemel claimed Graham's comments on the broadcast were taken out of context.

He said Graham wasn't calling for a public inquiry because the investigation is continuing and could be jeopardized if certain information was made public.

Driemel said a public inquiry has also been rejected by the Solicitor General and by the Police Complaints Commissioner for the time being.

Police spokesperson Constable Sarah Bloor issued another clarification Friday morning, again claiming the chief's remarks weren't aired in their entirety.

She said " The chief does support a public inquiry, however his feeling is that it will not occur until the criminal process has taken place. The criminal investigation is still ongoing, and until that is concluded there will be no public inquiry"

Rick Frey,whose daughter Marnie went missing five years ago, was frustrated by the original statement.

He said, "There's a lot of information we gave them. Did they use it? I don't know. Will I ever know? I don't know. That's why, if the inquiry comes out, we will know."

Some other missing women family members weren't as concerned with the Police Chief's comments. Erin McGrath, whose sister Leigh is missing,is looking to the provincial government to order a public inquiry.

She said "It's up to the Attorney-General. I think if the families speak out and let people know what's happened to our families and to our society, the truth will be uncovered."

McGrath says she won't rest until a public inquiry has been ordered. And she says dozens of other family members are just as determined.

Courtesy of the CBC - Click on logo for coverage of the missing women



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

Updated: August 21, 2016