VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
America's Most Wanted
On the Fox Network
America's Most Wanted is in Vancouver covering the 25 women missing on the downtown eastside. The tentative date for the airing of this story is Saturday, July 31, 1999.
Tuesday, July 27, 1999
VANCOUVER -- Police hope their search for 31 missing prostitutes will be bolstered today by the host of America's Most Wanted.
John Walsh -- host of the punchy program featuring re-enactments of crimes and information on unsolved cases -- will join B.C. Attorney-General Ujjal Dosanjh to announce the details of a $100,000 reward for information on the case.
Most of the women have vanished from the streets of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside since 1995, fuelling fears that a serial killer may be at work. Other disappearances go back to 1978.
Mr. Walsh is in Vancouver shooting material for a July 31 show devoted to Vancouver-area crimes including the missing women. CP
America's Most Wanted to air Vancouver episode
Ian Bailey, Canadian Press
The crimebusting TV show America's Most Wanted will focus on the mystery of more than 20 prostitutes who have vanished from one of Vancouver's toughest neighbourhoods.
With the blessing of city police, producers of the Fox TV network show will air a segment on July 31 about the mystery that has fueled fears a serial killer is operating in Vancouver.
"This has become a priority for [Vancouver] police,] show spokesman Avery Mann said from Washington, D.C.
"We are a friend of the police.
They want us to work with them. We are happy to do it."
The punchy show features re-enactment of crimes and news of
Since 1995 more than 20 prostitutes have vanished from the city's downtown eastside--a neighbourhood hit hard by cocaine, heroin and drug related HIV.
The women have left behind children, apartments, bank accounts and social assistance cheques. One minute, they were seen on street corners, the next minute, they were gone.
No bodies have been found. Some fear single or multiple serial killers at work. Police are wary about acknowledging that possibility, but have begun treating the cases as a group.
"We have 14 million viewers every week throughout the United States, Canada and in four or five other countries," said Mann.
"If there's someone traveling around or someone who knows something anywhere in North America, they may call in and provide that lead that could lead to an arrest."
Crews from America's Most Wanted will be in Vancouver a few days before July 31 to tape material to introduce the six-minute report, which is almost complete.
The segment features interviews with relatives of the missing women, prostitutes still working the streets, police and even officials of the CPA Confidence Group Enterprises Inc., a Vancouver-based firm of private eyes that has offered to help find the women.
The report is being prepared by Wanted correspondent Kimberly Halkett, a former anchor with VTV. Halkett is now based in Washington, D.C.
Wanted host John Walsh, whose six year old son was abducted and murdered in 1981, will introduce the segment with footage taped in Vancouver's Stanley Park.
A few other Canadian cases will be included in the episode, although Mann declined to discuss those.
Vancouver police are enthusiastically welcoming the show.
"We're more than prepared to work with America's Most Wanted,"said spokeswoman Anne Drennan. "They can achieve tremendous results with coverage of a file."
Police and the province are offering a $100,000 reward for information that helps crack the case. And a team of officers that once consisted of a pair of missing person's investigators now includes homicide officers and specialized profilers.
Last week, officers sought DNA samples from relatives of the missing women in order to help identify remains if found.
Mann said the situation in Vancouver is bizarre even by his show's standards.
"America's Most Wanted is certainly concerned when you have 23 women who have disappeared," said the former Vancouver resident.
"I mean, what's going on? Bodies are not turning up. They're just disappearing. That's a mystery."
There are also no crime scenes and no composite sketches to be shown of suspects.
Since its 1988 debut, reports aired on the show have helped nab more than 500 fugitives--including 10 from the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List.
The show last produced a segment in Vancouver in 1997, covering such crimes as a burglar nicknamed "Spider Man," who was clambering up apartments.
Updated: August 21, 2016