VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Summer student shows up Pickton detectives: report
Jon Woodward, ctvbc.ca
A 22-year-old summer student doing data entry beat seasoned RCMP and Vancouver police detectives to the realization that Robert Pickton was still killing women, according to a missing women's inquiry report obtained by CTV News.
Brian Oger's essay on The Serial Killer Theory did eventually prompt a change in attitude, but first the police agencies ignored it, told the young man his services were no longer required, and then investigated him for leaking something else to the media, the report said.
"The summer student, who was reading and absorbing as much of the information as he could, recognized that not enough was being done," wrote Deputy Chief Jennifer Evans of the Peel Regional Police, who had been seconded to the missing women's inquiry.
"While his essay was meant to raise awareness of an issue, it instead created a lot of problems and stress for him," Evans said.
In 2001, the Vancouver police investigation into where dozens of missing women had ended up had stalled, and the RCMP had taken over the lead of the investigation in a joint task force called Project Evenhanded.
But investigators in Project Evenhanded believed that the killer had stopped killing, and were looking at historical homicide files, the report said. In reality, Pickton was still picking up women from the Downtown Eastside and slaying them on his Port Coquitlam property.
That meant when someone new went missing, it was often months before the joint task force was even aware there was a new problem. That was unacceptable, wrote Oger in his 15-page essay on Aug. 23, 2001, entitled The Serial Killer Theory: A Report on Downtown Eastside Missing Prostitutes.
"In the essay, he asked a very important question: 'What if the serial killer who we thought was dormant, dead, or in jail, is still out and about, killing at will?'" wrote Evans.
"Unfortunately, I saw no evidence that anyone heeded this information," she wrote.
Sgt. Don Adam looked at the report on Aug. 30, and confirmed the statistical analysis. But on Sept. 11, 2001, a representative of the investigation "advised Brian Oger he would no longer provide his services to this project."
In December, he took a polygraph after being accused of leaking an operational plan to the CBC's Fifth Estate. He passed the polygraph, and appeared in later meetings.
"In my opinion, the reasons Brian Oger's essay caused such internal issues within the VPD and RCMP was that it questioned the ongoing plan that had been approved by police," Evans wrote.
Another issue: Oger also contained a "veiled threat" to go to the media, according to the report.
"It will not go to the media or the Attorney General until such time as the appropriate people within the project and the police department are informed of the gravity of this situation," he wrote at the time.
It wasn't until Oct. 24, 2001, that members from Project Evenhanded met with officers from the Missing Women's Review Team to note that 18 more women had gone missing.
"We need to come up with a plan to resource the present problem of people still going missing if a serial killer is on the loose," he said.
Then in November of 2001, Project Evenhanded switched focus and began actively following up on recently reported missing persons. Mona Wilson, whom Pickton was charged with slaying, was reported to the VPD on Nov.30, 2001.
The drama surrounding the essay's release was ignored in the report by Doug LePard, who mentions simply that Oger made some critical suggestions.
"(Oger's) report suggested that insufficient resources were being applied to the case, and made a number of investigative recommendations," LePard wrote.
When contacted by CTV News on Friday, Oger said he was not interested in publicity, and said he would stand by his upcoming testimony at the missing women's inquiry.
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Updated: August 21, 2016