VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Is there a serial killer at work in Vancouver, BC?
Reported by Deborah Feldman, KING 5 News
VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver is Seattle's beautiful twin sister to the north, but beneath the tranquil surface, a sordid secret has festered for more than a decade.
Dozens of the city’s most destitute and desperate citizens - drug-addicted sex workers - have mysteriously vanished.
Sex trade workers can easily be found in at least half a dozen neighborhoods around Vancouver. But one of the interesting elements to this case is nearly every one of the missing women on the list, disappeared from this single 10-block strip.
Anita knows the strip intimately after working it for years, but now has managed to stay clean and off the streets for 60 days.
"I got tired of putting myself up for grabs," she says.
After a decade addicted to drugs and turning tricks, Anita was scared sober.
"I don't know who it is. It could be a drug dealer, it could be somebody who's well known, it could be a cop for all I know," she says.
Two of Anita's friends have vanished in the past 10 months, including one who leaves behind two small children.
Anita, a mother herself, is now desperately trying to turn her life around, if not save it completely.
"I didn't want my kids to grow up to think that my mummy was one of the missing women in Vancouver," says Anita.
More than 40 women are now listed on a web page made by friends of Vancouver's missing women. It was created out of frustration that after more than a decade Vancouver Police still don't have a single lead.
"Nobody else has ever had this situation, anywhere in North America, that we're really aware of, where there's never been bodies found and there's never been crime scenes," says Det. Scott Driemel, Vancouver Police Dept.
Vancouver police haven't updated their list of missing women for two years, although the Royal Canadian Mounted Police joined the investigation in April, expanding the number of detectives on the case to 14.
Still, the RCMP are reluctant even to confirm there's a problem.
"We certainly aren't going to assume that somebody is dead if we haven't completed reviewing all of the files. They could be missing. They could be elsewhere. We don't know," says Cst. Danielle Efford, Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Investigators say 18 more names will be added to the list in the next few weeks bringing the total to 45. One will likely be Leigh Miner, last seen in 1993.
Erin McGrath remembers Leigh as bright and beautiful until she slid into drugs and prostitution after her husband's suicide.
Her family filed a missing person's report when she vanished, but Erin says the Vancouver Police promptly lost the file and never returned her calls.
"It's awful but I keep comparing it to, we lost our dog once and called the SPCA. The SPCA called back. My sister goes missing and we try to get attention, we try to get attention and they never call back and they don't even care! They don't even ACT like they care! It was awful," says Erin.
After 15 years of disappearances, Vancouver law enforcement is under increasing public pressure to crack this case.
People who knew these women, say more must be done - and soon.
"You know, I am terrified for the women that are living today in East Vancouver. That they are going to have to go through the same thing that my sister went through, which I'm sure wasn't pleasant because the person who's doing this is not an amateur. He's been doing it for a long time, he's got it down pat," says Erin.
Vancouver police have a reward out for information leading to an arrest in this case.
Now that the situation is beginning to get some publicity both in and outside of Vancouver, they expect to hear about more women who have disappeared and say the official number could eventually top 50.
Courtesy of King 5 TV www.king5.com
Updated: August 21, 2016