It’s a tragic question that bears crucial examination. How did Vancouver police and the RCMP fail to identify Robert Pickton as a suspect in the disappearance and death of 49 women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside?
An inquiry in Vancouver is looking into this very issue all this week. This story is Campbell River’s story, of course, because of the disheartening loss of a young person from this community and her stepmother’s brave search for her stepdaughter in Vancouver’s Skid Row and her dogged – but futile – pursuit of answers from the Vancouver Police.
Lynn Frey even went as far as climbing the fence of the infamous Pickton farm in Port Coquitlam to seek answers. Her own investigation had lead her to the farm where the remains of her stepdaughter Marnie Frey would later be found. Tragically, Lynn was just metres away from her daughter’s remains at the moment in 1998 when a rottweiler scared her off the Pickton property fence.
This gruesome story is British Columbia’s shame. It appears that the disappearance of these women was not taken seriously by Lower Mainland authorities, likely because they were addicts and prostitutes. The fear is that this is not going to reflect well on police in the Vancouver area. It’s customary to say that at least this inquiry may prevent such things happening in the future, that it may save lives from here on in but the horrendous and tragic loss of so many lives at the hand of one person taints any good the inquiry will accomplish.
Too much has been lost and the way it happened may yet prove to be the greatest shame.