Police slam media for 'emotional roller coaster' Information leaked about B.C. pig farm

National Post
Ian Bailey

Thursday, June 6, 2002

VANCOUVER - The police have accused the media of putting the families of 54 missing women on an emotional roller coaster with reports suggesting investigators found the heads, hands and feet of two women in a freezer at a pig farm that is being searched as part of the case.

The joint task force probing the case has also expressed regret to family members about the impact of a horrifying scenario they refuse to confirm or deny.

In a statement, the Missing Women Joint Task Force -- consisting of RCMP officers and members of the Vancouver Police -- said they were urging the media to show discretion in their reports.

"We have received complaints from family members who say some news media stories have put them on an emotional roller coaster.

"What they are simply asking for is an end to sensational speculation and to have some time to deal with what is already a very traumatic time in their lives."

The statement comes as police prepare today to hold an unprecedented technical briefing for the media on their efforts to search the 4.5-hectare farm of 52-year-old Robert Pickton, who has been charged in the murders of seven of the missing women.

Police have already confirmed the discovery of human remains on the farm in Port Coquitlam, about 40 kilometres east of Vancouver, but are launching a detailed excavation of the site with help from 50 experts in assessing human remains.

Police have refused to be explicit about what they have discovered so far.

Victims' services staff have been calling families of the women, who have vanished from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside since 1983, to read a prepared statement in response to the media report about the human remains.

Ernie Crey, whose sister Dawn vanished in 2000, said he did not hear the statement as an apology.

"Maybe there was a note of regret as opposed to an apology," Mr. Crey said yesterday. "[It said] that they were sympathetic that the information got out there, and they understood how it hurt families and they would neither confirm nor deny the substance of the report."

The victims' services workers did not take questions.

Mr. Crey said he found the reports disturbing due to his concerns that the information could only have come from a police officer. Police have not released such information to family members during a series of briefings they have held.

"My concern is how the media came by that information. That's the central issue," Mr. Crey said. "If it was a police source, I am concerned about their standards of professionalism. If it did come from a police source, it was insensitive and cruel."

Mr. Crey said the news hit him hard. "I had to sit down and digest what I had heard." The television report said police found the body parts of two women several months ago in one of many freezers they were searching.

The task force said they are the only source of accurate information and will not compromise Mr. Pickton's right to a fair trial. He is scheduled to face a preliminary hearing in November.

"There is information and there is sensation," the statement said. "One serves to inform and educate and the other simply serves to titillate, entertain. This investigation, this search and the ensuing court case will challenge many to appreciate the difference." 

National Post



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Updated: August 21, 2016