VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Missing woman's friend keeps families informed via website
Man who fell for Sarah deVries now 'driven' by search
Monday, February 11, 2002
Wayne Leng is the man behind the scenes.
He has quietly been running a website dedicated to Vancouver's 50 missing women at his own expense.
"He's done an awful lot. He's the one with all the names of all the relatives and he's kept everyone up to date with the website," said Lynn Frey, the mother of Marnie Frey, a Vancouver sex-trade worker who disappeared in 1997.
Leng a 52-year old automotive technician, isn't a relative.
"I am just a good friend of Sarah deVries," Leng said.
He met deVries, then 29, at a convenience store as he was leaving town to go on a trip in 1994.
He was smitten by her infectious laugh and sassy way and invited her to have a drink.
DeVries came from an upper-middle class background, the adopted daughter of a UBC professor and a nurse. But teenage rebellion led her to a life on the streets, drugs and prostitution,
"We got talking and she told about the horrors she'd been through in her life. She wanted somebody to talk to," Leng said. "She didn't say anything about using drugs. I didn't know about that until later.
He said they made a date to go to the PNE together.
"I got involved with her," Leng admits. It was an involvement that lasted, but as a friendship.
"She used to leave things like clothes at my apartment so they wouldn't get stolen," said Leng. "It was a safe haven for her."
He was the one who got the call from Sarah's mother to say Sarah was HIV-positive.
"I went and found her and brought her back to my place so she could call her mom," Leng said. "She broke down. I hugged her and held her. It was hard to take."
Leng said he saw Sarah on the night she vanished.
Sarah and a girlfriend had gone out to work. It was about 4:30 a.m., and they were the last ones on the street. Sarah needed money so she would have drugs when she woke up.
When Sarah didn't show up in the next couple of days, Leng thought at first she had taken a job caretaking a grow house -- something she talked of, ironically, as a way to get off drugs.
"She was tired of it and wanted to get off," Leng said.
Leng said he got three chilling messages on his pager the following Saturday night saying she was dead and not to look for her.
"Sarah's dead," a slightly slurred man's voice said over loud music in the background. "So there will be more girls like her dead. There will be one every Friday night. At the busiest time."
In the third and last message the man said he was present when a friend of his killed deVries.
Leng, who was laid off at about that time, spent the next two years living on his savings as he papered the downtown with posters and launched the website with software donated by another missing woman's mother.
"I feel driven to do this." Leng said. He has since moved to Los Angeles, but keeps up the website, www.missingpeople.net.
The latest postings are stories about the search at the Port Coquitlam pig farm.
"I would like to fly up and go out there to see if I can feel Sarah's spirit, to see I can sense whether or not she was ever there."
'DOWN HERE IT'S DIFFERENT'
An entry from Sarah deVries' journal:
Down here it's different...
A fine line divides your world from mine and yet there is so much that you people wouldn't understand -- our rules must be followed.
Some of you would say I am from the wrong side of the tracks. It's a fine line that keeps both our worlds apart.
We have our own law, our own justice system, etc. and it works.
All that I have in this world are the few things you see here in this room and my word.
If my word was no good I don't think I would be alive to be writing these inkstains.
I've been around a long time, longer than you think.
I now hate. I just hate and hate so deep it burns my soul.
I want to lash out at the world and make it pay but I made my bed. I sleep on it with my hate.
A platonic relationship -- how about that.
I think that my hate is going to be my destruction, my executioner.
Hate wants me to let her out but I can't. I'm too greedy.
I can't let my hate loose on the world.
Only the person who helped me create my hate will I share her with.
A POEM FROM SARAH'S JOURNAL
Woman's body found beaten beyond recognition
You sip your coffee
Taking a drag on your smoke
Turning the page
Taking a bit of your toast
Just another day
Just another death
Just one more thing you so forget
You and your soft sheltered life
Just go on and on
For nobody special from your world is gone
Just another day
Just another death
Another Hastings Street whore
Sentenced to death
The Judge's gavel already fallen
Sentence already passed
You just sip your coffee
Washing down your toast
For you it's just another day
For you it's just another death
For you you've already forgot
It's not just another day.
It's not just another death
© Copyright 2002 The Province
Updated: August 21, 2016