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Missing women now linked together-CPA

Police shift focus on missing women

The Province, Friday, June 25, 1999. Canadian Press

Angela Jardine  

Vancouver police yesterday took DNA samples from relatives of more than 20 prostitutes missing from the city's skid row.

The samples were obtained amid indications police now are grouping the cases together instead of treating them individually.

The change in strategies was outlined at a meeting between the families and members of the police task force looking into the disappearances. The meeting was closed to the media.

"The police are changing their approach," said Maggie deVries, whose sister Sarah disappeared in April 1998. "Until recently, they were looking at these cases individually. Now they are looking at them as a group."

Since 1995, some 23 women have vanished, fueling fears a serial killer may be on the loose.

The DNA samples were taken, by mouth swabs, in case police find bodies. None have been found and there is no evidence of crime scenes. "It's not because they have something specific," said deVries. "It's for the future."

Police spokeswoman Const. Anne Drennan described the meeting as "productive," but refused specific comment. It was the first time police have briefed family members in detail.

Also yesterday, police held a first meeting with a Vancouver-based firm of private detectives that has volunteered to help with the case, C.P.A. Confidence Group Enterprises Inc.

Company president John Pisarski called the meeting "a step in the right direction," and said "the door was not closed" to a role for C.P.A., which has offered to provide tracking dogs as part of its investigation.

C.P.A. has taken no retainer, it can look into the matter because B.C. regulations allow such firms to become involved when a reward is offered.

The police board and B.C. government are jointly offering a $100,000 reward for information that helps police resolve the matter.

CPA Investigative Group-Missing Much Higher-Aug 23, 1999

 

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Updated: August 21, 2016