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Police seal off PoCo farm, tell family they have suspect

Lindsay Kines and Kim Bolan
Vancouver Sun

February 5, 2002

Police may have a major break in the case of 50 women missing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, The Vancouver Sun has learned.

RCMP sealed off a Port Coquitlam farm Wednesday and set up a mobile command centre near the property's barn.

Police were seen coming and going from the farm until late Wednesday. One officer said he had been there since 9 a.m.

Police at the scene refused to comment when asked whether members of the joint Vancouver police-RCMP task force on missing women were present.

One officer would say only that the massive search was part of a criminal investigation.

But 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.

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, as police cars came and went. "No trespassing" signs hung from a huge wired gate, including one threatening an attack by a pitbull with AIDS.

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.

Late Wednesday, Ernie Crey, the brother of one of the missing women, said RCMP called him to say they have a suspect.

"The police told me it's going to be known tomorrow and they wanted me to find out first, so I've been calling all the brothers and sisters."

Crey said he wasn't told whether police believe the suspect is directly involved in his sister Dawn's disappearance.

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 the night.

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.

Familes, support groups laud 'responsible' police-Feb 13, 2002

Investigation turns up more missing women-Sept 21, 2001

The hunt for evidence-Feb 10, 2002

 

Email: wleng#missingpeople.net 

Missing Women Tip Line: 1-877-687-3377

Updated: August 21, 2016