Police ‘mishandled’ case Island parents plan to sue

Jeff Rud
Times Colonist

Saturday, November 23, 2002

The parents of a Campbell River woman whose remains have been found on the Port Coquitlam pig farm of accused serial killer Robert Pickton are planning to sue police, saying officers mishandled the search for their daughter Marnie.

CREDIT: Southam Newspapers, File

Freys: Marnie

"That is exactly what they are specifically looking at,'' said Eric Chesterley, one of two lawyers retained by the family of Marnie Frey, who disappeared in August 1997 from Vancouver's seedy downtown eastside.

Chesterley said parents Rick and Lynn Frey of Campbell River have plenty of questions about the way their daughter's case was handled, including why police didn't take her disappearance seriously.

Marnie Frey is one of 63 sex trade workers to disappear since 1978 -- 38 of them in the last six years.

Father Rick Frey and stepmother Lynn Frey spoke at a news conference Friday in Campbell River. "Justice to us is, of course, getting a guilty verdict,'' said Rick Frey. "But justice is also having the women treated as women, (although) with problems."

CREDIT: Southam Newspapers, File

Freys: Stepmother Lynn.

The Frey family was notified Nov. 13 that their daughter's remains had been discovered on the pig farm.

"It's your worst fear,''Rick Frey said.

Police officers from the RCMP missing women task force visited the family to deliver the news. "It was made clear to them that it was more than DNA that was found,'' said James Hormoth, the other lawyer retained by the Frey family. "It wasn't just a case of blood found on the farm and that Marnie could still be alive."

Police confirmed Friday that they met with the Freys last week, but would not comment on what they told the family.

For five years the Freys asked police to investigate Marnie's disappearance, said Hormoth. "Every time they tried to bring it to their attention they were snowed and nothing ever happened."

The Freys last heard from their daughter, who became involved in the sex trade on Vancouver's eastside to feed her drug habit, in an August 1997 phone call, not long before she would have turned 24.

Despite her problems, Marnie always kept in regular contact with her family. The Freys said their daughter never failed to call home on her birthday, Aug. 30. So when she didn't call on that particular birthday, despite the fact her family had sent her presents by bus, the Freys knew something was wrong.

Rick and Lynn visited Vancouver numerous times to try to find their daughter, walking the streets with her photograph and checking hospitals and interviewing street people. They were unable to locate her, but met others also looking for missing women.

Their lawyers said the Freys first reported talk of a pig farm to police in 1998, including talk that women who visited the farm had gone missing.

"Over and over she (Lynn Frey) kept getting leads that were leading her back to the pig farm," Hormoth said. "She was turning the leads over to the police and nothing was happening."

Marnie Frey attended Southgate school, then Campbell River Christian school until Grade 11. Rick Frey described his daughter as "carefree, bubbly. She loved animals. She wouldn't hurt a fly.'' Brother Rick Frey Jr. said he never saw his sister on drugs. "I remember her as outgoing,'' he said. "She was a lot like me. She liked to ride horses and get dirty and fight -- and we did it all together.''

Pickton has been charged with 15 counts of first-degree murder since a joint RCMP-Vancouver city police task force began searching his farm in February. He has not been charged with Frey's death.

The Frey lawsuit would be the third filed against police in the case.

-- With files from CH TV and Canadian Press.

© Copyright 2002 Times Colonist (Victoria)

Family told daughter's DNA found at farm-Nov 22, 2002



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Updated: August 21, 2016