BY PAMELA ROTH ,EDMONTON SUN
FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, JULY 22, 2011 7:19:31 MDT PM | UPDATED: FRIDAY, JULY 22, 2011 7:31:04 MDT PM
Lisa Bigjohn had a dream of reuniting with her baby sister, who was trying to escape from a life of drug addiction and prostitution on the streets of Vancouver’s east side.
That day never came.
The life of her sister, Mona Lee Wilson, was cut short at the age of 26 when she went missing and fell into the hands of a serial killer known for luring poor and homeless women from Vancouver’s east side to a pig farm on the outskirts of the city.
Even though it’s been nine years since Wilson’s death, Bigjohn and her brother, Jayson Fleury, trying to ensure their sister’s memory — and those of other women like her — isn’t forgotten.
“She got ripped out of my life. It really hurt me. There’s a lot of pain to live with,” said Bigjohn, who used to live in Abbotsford, B.C., but now lives in Edmonton. “It’s been a long process of healing.”
Whenever another aboriginal woman goes missing in western Canada, it sends a chill down the spine of Bigjohn and Fleury, and they re-live the nightmare all over again.
“When I see a very young girl standing around and I know what she’s trying to do, it scares me inside to know who will pick up that girl and do something to her,” said Bigjohn, who’s inviting all family members and friends of missing murdered women and children to a memorial for her sister.
“Other people look at them as just a piece of garbage. We want to make other families aware that these people were once here, they were somebody. No matter what they do to survive, they are human beings.”
A feast and memorial for Wilson will take place Saturday, July 30, at the Londonderry Building, 14010 74 St., from noon to 5 p.m. The family hopes to make the memorial an annual tradition.
Contact with their sister ended abruptly when Wilson went missing in November 2001. Four months later, Bigjohn and Fleury were swept into a roller coaster of emotions when they learned their sister’s remains had been found on Pickton’s pig farm in suburban Port Coquitlam.
Her head, hands and feet were found in a garbage can in the slaughterhouse next to Pickton’s trailer. Her skull had been “expertly bisected.”
Both Bigjohn and Fleury attended some of the court proceedings for Pickton, originally charged with killing and butchering the remains of 26 woman. In order to simplify the case, he was only tried on six counts, including Wilson. He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole for 25 years — the longest murder sentence available under Candian law.
Fleury believes Wilson’s death could have been prevented, but he claims nobody seemed to care about an aboriginal woman living on the streets, so she fell through the cracks.
“She had a few mistakes and other than being judged, she needed help,” said Fleury. “She was a caring, loving person.”
She was put into foster care in the Vancouver area as a toddler. By 14, she was on the streets and a heavy drug user.
Several years passed before she reached out to her siblings.
“A lot of people never understand who she was and how she had to survive,” said Bigjohn. “She reached out to me. She used to call me and tell me and share a lot of her lifestyle with me here and there. She had a lot of problems she was trying to run away from to get to a better life.”