Vancouver Pimp eyed in Disappearances of Hookers. By Robert Anthony Phillips.

April 28, 2000.

27 Women reported missing in Past Several Years.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia ( -- Canadian law enforcers are investigating whether a former pimp charged with assaulting skid row prostitutes may have been involved in unsolved killings in other Canadian cities and the mysterious disappearances of more than two dozen women here, authorities said.

Barry Thomas Niedermier, 43, who was once convicted of pimping a 14-year-old girl, appeared in provincial court Thursday on 14 counts of assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, unlawful confinement and administering a noxious substance.

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He did not plead to the charges and was given until May 4 to obtain a lawyer, officials said.

Anne Drennan, spokeswoman for the Vancouver Police Department, told that investigators from Edmonton, Calgary and various other cities have contacted her department to try to determine whether Niedermier is linked to unsolved homicides in their cities.

But she said so far there is no evidence that Niedermier is involved in any killings.

Officials of the Calgary police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's Calgary office did not return telephone calls today.

A 'person of interest'

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Vancouver police said that although Niedermier is a "person of interest" in the mysterious disappearances of 27 sex trade workers in Vancouver since 1986, there is no evidence linking him to those cases.

The women -- all drug-addicted prostitutes -- disappeared from the city's Downtown Eastside area, a neighborhood frequented by older prostitutes.

Advocates for sex trade workers, as prostitutes are called here, have speculated that a serial killer has been prowling the area.

But Vancouver police, who last year beefed up a missing persons unit to hunt for the women, said they have yet to unearth evidence -- or even find the bodies of the women -- that would point to a serial killer.

Most of the disappearances of the Vancouver prostitutes occurred in 1997 and 1998, according to Vancouver police. Nine of the women were reported missing in 1997 and seven others in 1998. Several women on the list have been missing since as far back as 1986.

Members of the women's families have said that it was unlike the women, although involved in prostitution and drug use, to leave the area. Many had children and stayed in close contact with relatives.

Probe of disappearances led to arrest

Drennan said the investigation into Vancouver's missing prostitutes led to the arrest of Niedermier.

She said that during the course of the probe "information came up with respect of vicious sexual assaults" of women in the Downtown Eastside area.

She would not disclose what the suspect had done to the women, other than to say that seven prostitutes were assaulted. The assaults all occurred in the Downtown Eastside neighborhood between 1995 and 1997, Drennan said.

Vancouver police said that publicity over Niedermier's arrest had prompted three more prostitutes to claim he assaulted them. Drennan said the investigation into those charges is continuing.

Drennan said that charges of administering noxious substances have to do with giving someone a date rape or knockout drug.

Police said Niedermier had been convicted of pimping a 14-year-old girl in 1990. 

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Updated: August 21, 2016