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Families of Pickton victims outraged by RCMP officer's stand

BY SUZANNE FOURNIER, THE PROVINCE  FEBRUARY 17, 2012

The families of women murdered by Robert Pickton are furious at the unapologetic self-defence from the RCMP commander of the Missing Women task force who was on the job while Pickton killed his last nine victims.

Retired Insp. Don Adam has insisted this week at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry that his "amazing" team did nothing wrong by not investigating Pickton or not realizing sooner women were still vanishing.

From late 2000, when Adam's Project Evenhanded was tasked with solving many murders of sex trade workers, women continued to go missing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside but Adam said his team didn't accept that until mid-2001.

Georgina Papin, Heather Bottomley, Patricia Johnson, Andrea Joesbury and Heather Chinnock were killed by Pickton in 2001 and Dawn Crey in late 2000.

Mona Wilson and Dianne Rock were killed by Pickton after November 2001.

On Thursday, Rock's sister Lilliane Beaudoin said her sister didn't have to die.

"Once a month these women were going missing throughout 2001 and one of them was Dianne, my sister, but Don Adam wants us to believe that at the end of the day, he's a big hero," said an angry Beaudoin.

"Where else could a policeman say he succeeded but nine people were killed?

"Everyone on the streets knew about Pickton and so did the police," said Beaudoin, who lives in Welland, Ont., but has attended much of the inquiry.

Both the Vancouver Police Department and RCMP had strong informant evidence about Pickton in 1998 and by 1999 even had an eyewitness who had seen Pickton butcher a woman.

Rick Frey, a Campbell River, B.C., fisherman whose daughter Marnie was murdered by Pickton, demanded: "What were Don Adam's investigators waiting for? He says they didn't want to tip off Pickton or make the killer go underground.

"They did everything but set the table for Pickton and he just kept killing."

Adam testified that his team had to look at dozens of unsolved homicides and didn't want to focus on Pickton to the exclusion of other suspects.

"I thought within eight months we'd know (if a serial killer was active) and have caught him," Adam testified, but he admitted, "This would only work if the killer didn't take a hiatus.

"He could always defeat us by stopping (killing) or by moving to a new hunting-ground."

The inquiry is looking into why Pickton was able to keep picking up women under the nose of the VPD, starting as early as 1991, and killing them at his farm just down the street from the Coquitlam RCMP detachment until 2002.

VPD Deputy Chief Doug LePard reviewed the police investigation and then apologized at the inquiry for not halting Pickton's killing spree sooner.

British Columbia RCMP Assistant Commissioner Craig Callens apologized for the first time Jan. 26, saying that in "hindsight and when measured against today's investigative standards and practices" the RCMP should have done better.

But Adam rejected criticism by Peel, Ont., Regional Deputy Chief Jennifer Evans, both of whom said Adam's team "lacked a sense of urgency" and did a paper review while homicides were still occurring.

Adam said Evans "didn't understand the complexity of our task."

Adam's team swung into action when Coquitlam RCMP got an unrelated search warrant in Feb. 5, 2002 and evidence of the missing women was in plain view.

Lori-Ann Ellis and Bill Ellis, family members of Pickton murder victim Cara Ellis, demanded outside the inquiry: "If Don Adam's team didn't know Pickton was killing and burying body parts, why did their search warrant go into so much detail about what they expected to find above and below ground?"

Cara Ellis' blood was on Pickton's clothing confiscated by police in 1997, after he stabbed a sex trade worker, but it wasn't tested for DNA until 2004.

Hearings continue at the inquiry until the end of April and Commissioner Wally Oppal has pledged to hand in his final report by June, 2012.

 

Email: wleng#missingpeople.net 

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

Updated: August 21, 2016