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Mother of missing woman gets full standing at B.C. inquiry

VANCOUVER - B.C.'s missing women inquiry announced Thursday that it is granting full standing to Marion Bryce, mother of Patricia Johnson, who was last seen in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside in 2001.

Convicted serial killer Robert Pickton was charged with Johnson's murder, but the charges were later stayed.

"I believe Ms. Bryce will contribute to a meaningful examination of the conduct of the missing women investigation, particularly the instigation of the investigations," inquiry commissioner Wally Oppal wrote in his decision.

He said Bryce would contribute to the fairness of the inquiry by giving evidence about Johnson's disappearance, Bryce's initial search and report to police, the information Bryce provided to police and the conduct of the investigation.

Bryce will be represented by Vancouver lawyer Irwin Nathanson.

Lawyer Cameron Ward is representing 13 families of missing women, including five that were recently added: the families of Jacqueline Murdoch, Angela Williams, Brenda Wolfe, Andrea Joesbury and Elsie Sabastion.

The commission was appointed by the B.C. government last year to probe the investigations by Vancouver police and RCMP of women reported missing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside between Jan. 23, 1997 and Feb. 5, 2002, when Pickton was arrested.

Community forums in the inquiry are slated to begin Sept. 12 and hearings are scheduled to start Oct. 11.

The government decided not to provide legal funding to all 13 community groups granted standing by Oppal, and only gave funding to the families of Pickton's victims. Eight groups have withdrawn their participation over the lack of legal funding.

tsherlock@vancouversun.com

Patricia Johnson

Patricia Johnson

 

 

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

Updated: August 21, 2016