VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
US TV Show Investigates Disappearance of 31 BC Prostitutes
Courtesy of CTV-Canada AM, July 29, 1999
CHEN: The search for 31 missing prostitutes
Good morning, John.
WALSH: Good morning, Wei.
CHEN: Why did you choose to feature this case on your show?
WALSH: Well, this case that we're leading off "America's Most Wanted" from Vancouver airing this Saturday night is really unprecedented. Yesterday I had a press conference with the chief of police of the Vancouver police -- I'm sorry, the deputy chief. We had the attorney-general of the province here, we had the mayor of Vancouver here. And I've never seen this in all the 11 years I've been working on "America's Most Wanted".
But in the last several years these 31 women have been reported missing. Their families are very concerned, they have children, they have lovers. Some of them left cheques. Some of them disappeared under the worst circumstances. But yet, not one of them has been identified or found. No bodies, no evidence of foul play.
But the province and the City of Vancouver have come up with a 100,000-dollar reward for any information leading to the recovery of these women. It's really unprecedented. It's really a tremendous effort by local government and province government and local police, the Vancouver police, to try to end the misery of these people who are looking for their loved ones.
CHEN: And what leads you to believe that a serial killer may be at work?
WALSH: Well, I've experienced this over the years in many cities. The Green River killer in Seattle: the bodies had to mount up before the police there ever did anything. Little Rochester, New York -- not too far south from you -- had 17 women killed over a two-year period: prostitutes, women that worked in the drug trade. Their bodies were found. They didn't acknowledge the fact that there was a serial killer, and the bodies mounted.
Now, we're not saying and the police are not saying that this is a serial killer. Maybe some of these women are embarrassed by their past and may have moved to other cities to work in prostitution or to sort out their problems. But it's unprecedented for 31 women to go missing and nobody to know anything about them.
My gut feeling is -- and that is shared by lots of people here in Vancouver -- that it is probably a very smart serial killer at work.
CHEN: Basically, it's two plus two equals four, you're thinking.
WALSH: Exactly. No one wants to put the populace into hysteria. No one wants to say, "Well, we know this," when we don't. The strange thing is I've never been in a city in Canada or in the United States in 11 years -- and I've covered lots of serial killers on "America's Most Wanted" -- where 31 women were reported missing over a period of time and not one piece of evidence was found. Not one body. Not one phone call was made. These women have disappeared off the face of the earth.
CHEN: Now, from your investigation, John, have you been able to come up with any sort of profile of the possible killer here?
WALSH: No, because there's never been a body found. There's no evidence, there's no evidence of foul play, no one has seen anything.
I mean, if this is a serial killer -- and, again, it's my opinion, it's my gut feeling. Even if half the women moved out of Vancouver it's still 15 or 20 women that no one's ever heard from. If it is a serial killer he's a lot smarter than the Green River serial killer. As I've been working on "America's Most Wanted" for 11 years I've seen the serial killers get more cunning, get smarter and tougher to catch.
I'm working on a case right now in Virginia: three little girls abducted, murdered, their bodies dumped in the river. Not one shed of evidence, not one piece of DNA, not one witness. So I'm finding that as we go along and evolve into the twenty-first century serial killers are getting smarter and tougher to catch.
CHEN: These cases may be difficult but you've had many successes in the past, most recently helping to catch suspected railroad killer Angel Resendiz. How do you feel about that?
WALSH: We were lucky. We profiled him when he was only suspected of one murder. We got thousands of e-mails on our website "amw.com" of friends and supporters of Dr. Claudia Benton, a woman that he is supposed to have murdered in Texas, a professor at Baylor University. As soon as we profiled him way back in March we got word that he was a suspect in two other murders and a murder all the way across the United States and Kentucky. So all of a sudden he was a spree killer: four murders.
Now, unfortunately, the media didn't get on to the story. I begged them. I begged all the major news organizations. I said: "This is the next Andrew Cunanan. We know he's a suspect in four murders, we need you to put him on the front page." They didn't. The only time that he got on the front page was when he committed eight murders that they suspect him of.
But we got that tip from a cousin who was a fan of the show who said he had a sister and a brother in Mexico -- a sister in Albuquerque, New Mexico and a brother across the border -- and they convinced him to turn himself in. Thank God he turned himself and stopped at eight murders.
CHEN: And John, briefly, you've also got lots of tips on another case that you're featuring from Vancouver.
WALSH: Absolutely. The beautiful little young girl here, 18- year-old girl -- Poonam Randhawa. She was allegedly murdered by her former boyfriend whose last name is Singh. We did that last week in advance of my coming to Vancouver and we got five solid tips. We think he's hiding somewhere in the United States.
The whole city of Vancouver since I got on the ground here have said: You've got to find this guy, you've got to get justice and closure for this family. I think that we'll nail this guy Saturday night.
CHEN: Alright, John. Well, good luck and thanks very much for talking to us.
WALSH: Thank you, Wei.
Wednesday, July 28, 1999
John Walsh, Host, "America's Most Wanted"
Updated: August 21, 2016