VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Missing women investigator can't remember names of missing women
BY SUZANNE FOURNIER, THE PROVINCE MARCH 7, 2012
The lead investigator on the Missing Women Task Force said he can’t remember the names of the eight women who were killed by Robert Pickton while the police task force was on the job.
Former RCMP Insp. Don Adam told the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry Wednesday it is “correct” that eight women were killed in 2001, including two who died while he was on two months’ summer holiday, but insisted police did nothing wrong.
“Correct,” said Adam, “they certainly were [murdered] but now I couldn’t rattle them off.”
Nor could he name Sereena Abotsway, Andrea Joesbury or Heather Chinnock, murdered in the summer of 2001 after Pickton stepped up his pace of killing.
Adam became “commander” of Project Evenhanded, an RCMP-VPD task force, in February 2001, long after Vancouver police and Coquitlam RCMP knew Pickton had almost killed a sex worker picked up on the Downtown Eastside in 1997.
Tipsters in 1998 said bloody women’s clothing and trophies were strewn on Pickton’s Port Coquitlam farm. In 1999 an eyewitness who eventually helped convict Pickton said she’d seen him butcher a woman hanging on a hook.
But Adam has insisted that his “seasoned” officers were conducting a “file review” and “chasing multiple streams” by gathering the DNA of missing women’s families and investigating as many as 374 “very good suspects.”
Adam admitted only one of the 374 “monsters” was ever arrested and charged, besides Pickton, who wasn’t arrested until February 2002 after an unrelated firearms search of his farm turned up evidence of Vancouver’s missing women.
Adam was asked by Cameron Ward, lawyer for the 25 murdered women’s families, if he recognized in the courtroom Lilliane Beaudoin, whose sister Dianne Rock, killed in late 2001, was one of the last women murdered by Pickton.
When Adam said he did recognize Beaudoin, Ward demanded:
“Can you explain to her why after starting up Project Evenhanded [the task force] and knowing Pickton’s status as a suspect in February, March, April, May, you didn’t take any steps to ensure he was not killing more women?”
Adam replied that although “Mr. Pickton lived on as a Priority One suspect, the investigation could not be narrowed down to one suspect.
“Do I regret we didn’t get him sooner? Absolutely, absolutely,” said Adam.
Earlier on Wednesday, Ward was successful in getting Commissioner Wally Oppal to order the disclosure of an unpublished 370-page book manuscript by VPD Det. Const. Lori Shenher, who was told about Pickton in August 1998.
The VPD has denied since 2003 that Shenher had written the book, based on the missing women case, but Shenher confirmed at the inquiry in late January that she had a publisher and full manuscript about the missing women.
Rick Frey, a Campbell River fisher whose daughter Marnie was murdered by Pickton, said “the families are angry and concerned abouti Shenher’s book.
“We trusted her as a cop. We don’t know she was secretly writing about us.”
But the inquiry, and the public, won’t get to read Shenher’s book until her lawyer David Crossin is allowed to vet it to protect her privacy.
Adam’s testimony ended Wednesday and the inquiry will return to a four-man VPD panel Thursday, in the wake of the withdrawal of its independent lawyer for aboriginal interests, Robyn Gervais.
Gervais withdrew, saying police witnesses have crowded out community and aboriginal witnesses. Formal hearings end in April and Oppal’s final report is due in June 2012.
Adam also angrily refuted on the stand statements by RCMP Cpl. Catherine Galliford, a fomer spokeswoman, that Adam didn’t try hard to stop Pickton, although he’d had enough evidence since October 2001 for a search warrant.
Galliford said in her April 2011 statement that “Don Adam is a misogynist, which is probably why he blew off the Missing Women investigation.”
Adam said Galliford didn’t join the task force until December 2001.
“I do not in any way, shape or form believe that I’m a misogynist. You could talk to people I’ve worked with and you would find a very different story.”
Adam did admit that at first he called his assignment “the hooker task force.
“But I came to realize that just wasn’t the proper way to refer to sex trade workers.”
Oppal himself spoke up at the end of Adam’s testimony Wednesday.
“Inspector Adam, you have said that in your opinion Evenhanded had superior officers, top-caliber officers, so if that’s the case, why did so many women get killed after Pickton was said to be a suspect?”
Adam replied again that Pickton was only one of many suspects and that “you don’t get to pick somebody in hindsight.”
© Copyright (c) The Province
Updated: August 21, 2016