VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Ex-Pickton worker went to police four years ago
Thursday, April 11, 2002
A man who once worked for Port Coquitlam pig farmer Robert 'Willie' Pickton says he first went to police four years ago with suspicions about the farm that is now the focus of an intensive murder investigation.
Bill Hiscox, 41, said from Campbell River that he talked to police just this past week about a converted camper-bus on the farm owned by Robert Pickton, 52, who is charged with six counts of first-degree murder. The women are among 54 who have disappeared from the Downtown Eastside.
Hiscox said police told him they have recovered the bus, which he says had been moved from the pig farm to the nearby "Piggies' Palace" after-hours club, owned by Pickton and his younger brother David Pickton, 50.
"Apparently the police are going through it now with a fine-tooth comb," said Hiscox.
He described the bus as "grey, with black-tinted windows, like a Greyhound bus converted to a camper. It was Willie's pride and joy and he wouldn't part with it for anything. It was always parked between the house and the barn and Willie used it a lot."
Hiscox says he was hired by Willie Pickton to work with the brothers' demolition and salvage company in 1997 and 1998.
He often picked up his paycheque at the Port Coquitlam pig farm where Willie and Dave lived and had an office.
"It was a creepy-looking place, all those outbuildings and vehicles, heavy equipment everywhere, and I have to admit they had this 600-pound vicious pig that I was pretty scared of," said Hiscox.
"I never saw a pig like that, who would chase you and bite at you. It was running out with the dogs around the property."
He said he is speaking out publicly, after talking only to police about his concerns for the last four years, as part of his recovery program from alcohol and drug addiction.
Hiscox said he went to Vancouver police in 1998 with his suspicions.
He said he even visited the farm with an officer who he claims shared his concerns and tried unsuccessfully "to push the higher-ups, all the way to the top, to investigate."
"But nothing was done. So now I don't care how much the police pressure me, I'm going to speak out."
Hiscox said he had a foster-sister named Lisa who often visited the farm and "was kind of Willie's girlfriend, off and on."
He said Lisa, who got him the job with Willie, told him that she found women's clothing and identification cards at the farm.
"She's still loyal to Willie and says he did nothing wrong."
Hiscox said he turned to alcohol and drugs when his wife Gwen died of diabetes-related complications in 1996.
"I admit I was down-and-out when Willie hired me and I was grateful for a job, but now this stuff is haunting me and I have to talk about it," said Hiscox, who is to be interviewed by an NBC-Dateline crew today.
Hiscox said he often saw women at the farm but knew few of them by name, except for Gina Houston, a friend of Willie Pickton's who has said she thinks she is a suspect and may be arrested.
"Willie was a pretty quiet guy, hard to strike up a conversation with, but I don't think he had much use for men," says Hiscox. "He was cunning, though. He'd go and case out a building at night with a flashlight if he was bidding on it for demolition.
"He signed my cheques, and he knew a lot about the businesses; he wasn't just a slow pig farmer that Dave had to look after."
RCMP Const. Catherine Galliford of the joint Vancouver police-RCMP missing women task force had no comment about Hiscox's statements.
The task force began searching the Pickton property on Feb. 5, launching an investigation by 80 officers and requiring the services of every RCMP forensic crime lab from Vancouver to Halifax.
Police confirmed Tuesday for the first time that they have recovered human remains on the farm.
Pickton is charged with the murders of Sereena Abotsway, 29, Mona Wilson, 26, Heather Bottomley, 25, Diane Rosemary Rock, 34, Jacquilene McDonell, 26, and Andrea Joesbury, 23.
The six women Pickton is accused of killing all disappeared since 1998, when police first received tips from Hiscox and others about the pig farm. All but McDonell, who disappeared in 1999, are alleged to have been killed since the joint police task force began its work last March.
© Copyright 2002 The Province
Updated: August 21, 2016