Anxiously awaiting a court decision today on the fate of convicted serial killer
Robert Pickton, Britney Frey is hoping she will finally be able to lay to rest
the remains of her mother, Marnie Frey.
Britney, who is only 16 but has been designated Marnie's next-of-kin for legal
purposes, says she is angry that "the coroner's office told me they would put my
mother's remains in the mail — there's no way I'd let them do that."
Britney will be in court today to hear if Pickton's conviction for the
second-degree murder of her mother and five other women will be upheld, or
whether more legalities will delay the release of her mother's remains.
Britney and her late mother's stepmother, Lynn Frey, will be up at dawn today to
catch a ferry from Nanaimo and then a bus to get to court in Vancouver. Both
called the coroner's remarks "insensitive."
"I thought it was disgusting, and I told them not to do that, because I will
come and get my mother," said Britney.
Lynn Frey, who attended many days of the lengthy legal proceedings against
Pickton, said yesterday: "I got a call from Victims' Services and they said,
'Don't bother coming to court, it will only be a minute,' and they refused to
give us any funding to attend court.
"I said, 'I want justice and don't tell me there's no point in me coming down.'
"This decision is important," she said, "because we want to bring Marnie home.
We want Marnie's remains back.
"We have got a death certificate now, but when I talked to the coroner, I was
told when it comes time to release the remains, 'We'll put it in the mailbox for
you.' This is the kind of insensitivity we've had to deal with all along."
Marnie Frey gave birth to Britney in 1992, when she was 18. Marnie, who grew up
in Campbell River, was introduced to hard drugs in her teens. She moved to
Vancouver, but called home regularly, up to eight times a day.
On her 25th birthday, she called home, but was never heard from again and, in
1997, she was reported missing.
In November 2002, the Freys were told an RCMP forensics team had found Marnie's
remains on the Pickton farm. At Pickton's lengthy trial, evidence showed only
Marnie's jaw and three teeth had been recovered.
On Dec. 9, 2007, a jury found Pickton guilty of the second-degree murder of
Marnie Frey and five other women: Andrea Joesbury, Sereena Abotsway, Mona
Wilson, Brenda Wolfe and Georgina Papin.
The Freys will likely still have to wait for the end of legal proceedings
against Pickton. Both prosecution and defence are expected to appeal to the
Supreme Court of Canada, leaving all the victims' families waiting to bury their
B.C. Coroner's Service spokesman Jeff Dolan confirmed "we've had ongoing
discussions with them [the Freys and other victims' families] and they've been
told [victims'] remains will be released at the end of legal proceedings."
Dolan said the coroner makes decisions on each case in consultation with
Dolan could not confirm who spoke with the Freys.
He said human remains, "whether complete or a smaller portion, are released in a
way to guarantee the dignity of the deceased." He said he had not heard of any
coroner ever mailing human remains.
"In the history of the coroner's service, I can't say it's never happened, but
we treat all remains with the same dignity."
© Copyright (c) The Province