Possible break in missing-women probe:
Task force seals off, conducts search of farm
The missing-women task force was conducting a search of a
Port Coquitlam farm Wednesday in what may be a major break in its
investigation of 50 women missing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
"I can tell you a search is being conducted on that
property and the search is being executed by the missing-women task
force," said Constable Catherine Galliford, the spokeswoman for the
joint Vancouver police-RCMP task force.
Corporal Pierre Lemaitre of the Coquitlam RCMP confirmed
police went to the house Tuesday night to execute a search for firearms. The
task force arrived on Wednesday.
"[Police] have been there, obviously, since late last
night and all through today," Lemaitre said Wednesday.
Galliford said she will be on the scene again today. She
said she had no idea how long the search would take because the property is
11 hectares (28 acres).
Police sources identified Robert Pickton as a person of
interest in the case. He is listed on B.C. assessment records as one of
three owners of the property being searched on Dominion Road.
The RCMP set up a trailer as its mobile command centre
near the property's barn, and were coming and going from the farm late into
There were investigators from Coquitlam and Burnaby on the
scene, as well as officers in unmarked police vehicles. The command centre
had the markings of Burnaby RCMP.
Large dogs barked and roamed the ramshackle property,
which had a darkened house and abandoned vehicles. "No
trespassing" signs hung from a huge wired gate, including one
threatening an attack by a pit bull with AIDS.
A friend of the man who lives at the farm told The Sun his
friend had been interviewed previously by police in connection with the
disappearance of downtown Vancouver prostitutes.
But Ross Edward Contois said his friend is innocent.
"These guys are totally on the wrong trail," Contois said, adding
that his friend is the victim of rumour-mongering.
"It's been going on for years."
The task force recently expanded its investigation to 30
officers as the number of women confirmed missing climbed to 50.
Most of the women who have disappeared over a number of
years were involved in drugs or the sex trade in the Downtown Eastside.