VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Police ready to start excavating former pig farm in missing women case
Monday, June 03, 2002
PORT COQUITLAM, B.C. (CP) - Police will begin excavating a 4.5-hectare pig farm and an adjoining property this week in an effort to find remains of 50 missing women from Vancouver's drug-riddled downtown eastside.
BC-CTV reported Monday night that several months ago, police found body parts in one of several freezers seized from the farm. The station said it has confirmed that the feet, hands and head of two of the women named in murder charges were found in the freezer. The station also reported that Dave Pickton, a co-owner of the farm, said a former employee planted the body parts in the freezer to frame his brother.
Robert Pickton, 52, a co-owner of the two properties, is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of seven of the women who have disappeared since 1983. Thirty-nine have disappeared since March 1995.
RCMP Const. Catherine Galliford said Monday that 26 archeological experts, including students from universities across Canada, have been selected to work at the site that has gained international attention.
On Monday, several of the scientists and students could be seen wearing hard hats inside the fenced-off property.
They appeared to be touring parts of the former pig farm that is strewn with junked cars, mounds of rubble and sand, several trailers and police vehicles.
The students and experts in the field of osteology - the study of human bones - are part of a team of 50 people hired to excavate the farm that is about a 45-minute drive east of Vancouver.
Eighty police officers of a joint RCMP-Vancouver police task force began searching the farm in February. The search was expanded in April to a nearby property reputed as a party hall dubbed Piggy's Palace.
Galliford said heavy equipment will be brought in this week to the site where police have already found DNA evidence.
The task force has also collected DNA from family members to try and identify any human remains.
Some relatives of the missing women gathered in a tent across from the property Monday as dump trucks hauled dirt in and out of the site.
Outside the fenced-off site, families have erected a memorial that includes candles, teddy bears, flowers and pictures of the missing women.
Pickton will begin a preliminary hearing Nov. 4. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 11.
© Copyright 2002 The Canadian Press
Courtesy The Canadian Press
Updated: August 21, 2016