Twenty-three women vanished since 1995

Posted at 10:45 a.m. PDT; , May 17, 1999
Courtesy of the Seattle Times

21 women missing in B.C. since 1995

by The Associated Press

VANCOUVER, B.C. - A renowned police expert in geographic profiling says he'll have to try some twists in his usual routines to crack the case of 21 missing Vancouver women.

"We are trying to use whatever tools we can, bearing in mind that we don't have a fundamental source of information - a crime scene," said Vancouver police Detective Inspector Kim Rossmo.

In the case of the women missing from the east side of Vancouver's downtown since 1995, there is not only no crime scene, but there are no bodies.

The mysterious disappearances of the women, who worked as prostitutes, have sparked fears a serial killer may be at work in the tough neighborhood, which has been ravaged by drugs and crime.

Last week, more than 300 people held a memorial service for the missing women.

Family members lit a candle for each during the ceremony, which ended with a march through city streets.

The city and province have agreed to offer a $100,000 reward for information that helps solve the mystery. Vancouver's mayor has proposed paying a reward of up to $2 million ($1.37 million U.S.) in the case.

Rossmo, a 19-year police veteran, has gained an international reputation for his advanced work in tracking suspects by computer calculations based on their crime scenes.

Using profiling to focus on a suspect's home is one option, "but there are other geographic components that sometimes are helpful. I think we can contribute something of value."

Rossmo developed a program that allows a computer to predict the area where a criminal is likely to live based on where crimes are committed. Rossmo has used the program successfully in investigations of murders, rapes, arsons, and robberies in North America and Europe.

He has advised the FBI, Scotland Yard and other police agencies.

Rossmo said there is no conclusive evidence that there is a single predator stalking the women, "but we have to consider that as a definite possibility."

Some of the women may have committed suicide or died in accidental circumstances in which their bodies would not be immediately found, he said.

But he noted that prostitutes face extreme risks in their work, which raises the possibility that some of the women may have been killed by one or more people.

"With this thing, there are so many variables," Rossmo said. "You have to consider all options simultaneously, not block yourself into one."

Geographic profiling expert



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

Updated: August 21, 2016