Why so little interest in Pickton?

The Standard (St. Catharines - Niagara)
Friday December 26, 2003

The Stratford Beacon Herald

Taking place in the shadow of the war in Iraq, SARS, a new prime minister and the mad cow crisis, quietly looms what may be one of the biggest stories in Canadian history.

With little attention or fanfare, the case of Robert Pickton is taking on historic magnitude. On Monday, the accused serial killer found out he will face another seven first-degree murder charges. That brings the total to 22.

There were nationwide, in fact continent-wide, alerts when Cecilia Zhang went missing in Toronto and the search for the nine-year-old Toronto girl made American's Most Wanted.

The same can be said after the disappearance and gruesome murder of 10-year-old Holly Jones in Toronto.

But why is the case of Robert Pickton of so little interest? After all, he may end up being responsible for the biggest crime spree in Canadian history and the victims were often teenaged girls.

Let's hope that it's not because many of the victims in the crime were drug-addicted prostitutes plying their trade on the seediest streets of Vancouver.

The official list of women missing from the downtown east side over the last two decades totals at least 61, and last month, police issued a public appeal for information on four other women who fit the profile of the others on the missing list.

Earlier this year, the Toronto Sun published a story about Sarah de Vries, one of the victims. Her sister Maggie chronicled Sarah's tragic life which ultimately ended on a B.C. pig farm.

Maggie described her frustration of dealing with a police force that seemed unconcerned about Sarah's disappearance. Like many of the other families, Maggie de Vries believes the lack of a co-ordinated police effort, even after they were aware there was a problem, led to the murders of at least 20 more prostitutes who disappeared through 2000 and 2001.

She told the Sun that society's stigmatization of prostitutes and our legal system's criminalization of these desperate women enabled a killer to easily prey on them with virtually no one taking notice.

That, and the fact that so few people seem to care about this case, is also a crime.

Courtesy of



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

Updated: August 21, 2016