VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Sex, drugs and murder
By RAFE ARNOTT
sex, drugs and murder
The grainy, enlarged photograph of Cynthia Feliks stared out at John Anderson from the front page of the paper.
His former common-law wife is one of 27 victims named in murder charges laid against alleged serial killer Robert Pickton. He barely makes ends meet in Kamloops while fighting HIV and hepatitis C. But John Anderson readily admits his own poor choices have led to his tenuous station in life. And, he adds, parents should pay special attention to their kids in an effort to cut down on the chances they follow in his broken path.
It was a face from the past, and Anderson stood mutely in line at the
checkout stand, unable to tear his eyes from her picture as he clutched the
Anderson could barely see through his tears and bolted from the store.
The words come out haltingly, each syllable spit out from his grimaced mouth: "I got so pissed off. I wanted him to eat it (the newspaper). I left, I just came home."
Remembering the incident leaves him clearly shaken, his slight frame doubles over and he rocks himself lightly on the dirty sofa cushions.
Feliks was Anderson's common-law wife for a number of years, and the image in question was one of 12 faces splashed across Canadian tabloids that day - faces forensic experts had identified in May as belonging to women whose DNA had been found on Robert Pickton's Port Coquitlam farm.
"It's just too awful to remember," Anderson says with a grimace. "I know what happened there. I've met all kinds of murderers, rapists and arsonists. You name it. I know people have the capacity for evil."
Anderson pauses, his eyes searching the dimly lit jumble of books, computer
equipment, dirty dishes and ashtrays spread throughout his tiny living room.
The story of Feliks and Anderson is a tale of drugs, sex and murder. It is a cautionary tale, and Anderson is living proof of the consequences of poor choices made at a young age, being both HIV-positive and a victim of hepatitis C.
"We met because I was a heroin trafficker and she was a very good-looking, expensive hooker with a lot of money and a big heroin habit."
Having been in and out of jail in both the United States and Canada, with what a judge once aptly described as a "rap sheet as long as both arms," Anderson has first-hand experience with society's underworld.
He fled the Lower Mainland six years ago with nothing more than a paper bag full of some personal tokens.
He is vague about how he even got to Kamloops.
Perhaps he hitched a ride?
A heroin addiction picked up at age 16 led to a job dealing drugs to support a $1,000-a-day habit.
"I considered what I was doing a favour to other people in the same [boat]. I didn't get days off. I worked 24/7, 365 days a week - 366 on leap years."
His life now is a far cry from his days as a bit player in the drug world. He lives alone, is on disability and can barely make ends meet.
"I'm used to walking around with thousands of dollars. I had two rental cars, two hotel rooms and an apartment.
"Everything I had went out the window when I went to jail."
Anderson said parents must educate themselves about drug use among teens.
"It's in the eyes - it's easy to tell."
As Anderson notes, not many 30-year-olds walk out their door with plans to become a drug addict.
"It happens when you are kid when you make choices on phony, bogus information," he says. "Sixteen-year-olds don't make good choices most of the time anyways. Add drugs, and a party - alcohol to the mix - alcohol is the leading drug into all the others."
Anderson says it's after drinking that drugs usually come out.
"Someone has a joint, or ecstasy, and that leads to a [drug] that they like best."
He says it's a horrendous thing "when you see a 12, 13, or 14 year-old-girl selling [themselves] for a piece of rock crack.
"Being a sex-trade worker is the most dangerous job in Canada. How many sex-trade workers were killed in B.C. in the last 10 years? 100? 200? 300? 400? Because crack cocaine changes your brain pattern. The only thing you think of is more cocaine. Sleep? Food? Your own natural body functions? They stop."
Men will pay large sums of money for young women - the younger the woman, the more money men will pay, Anderson says, stabbing the air with a cigarette held between nicotine-stained fingers.
"They (pimps) get them wired up on dope, and once they're at that point they're at their mercy. Eventually they will do anything for that bag. . . I mean anything.
"Even going to a pig farm, and getting murdered and eaten by pigs. If that ain't a tale of a dead end, I don't know what is."
Updated: August 21, 2016