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SERIAL KILLER stocking eastside prostitutes

Lack of bodies doesn't prove there's no serial killer: Expert

The Province

Canadian Press

Tuesday, June 15, 1999

Police have no bodies, no crime scenes and no reason to believe that 21 women missing from Vancouver's east-side streets are dead. Their conclusion: No serial killer--probably.

But experts say that's not necessarily correct, and warn that the situation may be much darker than police want to let on.

Dr. Deborah Laufersweller-Dwyer, a former police officer who teaches class on serial criminals at the University of Arkansas, said that "in many, many instances," serial killers aren't discovered until someone finds a cache of bodies.

As examples, she listed the cases of U.S. killers John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Ted Bundy.

Most of the women missing in Vancouver are prostitutes who have disappeared from the poverty-stricken downtown east side since 1995.

Vancouver police say the women could be living elsewhere. They are checking welfare rolls and medical records across the country.

"We don't have anything that indicates that in fact there have been 20-plus homicides," said spokeswoman Const. Anne Drennan.

But relatives of the missing women, and neighbourhood advocates, believe at least some of the women have fallen prey to a serial killer.

Laufersweller-Dwyer agrees.

"If I had 21 prostitutes missing {from one neighbourhood} I would definitely say it was a serial killer," she said in a telephone interview.

"The police either have blinders on or they don't want to alarm the citizens."

Another expert said the truth may be much more disturbing.

Prof. Steve Hart of Simon Fraser University, said there could be more than one murderer preying on east-side prostitutes.

"To me, having one serial murderer would be too easy, because it means you could blame one individual for all the bad stuff, and that's unlikely," Hart said.

By definition, a serial murderer has killed at least three times.

Vancouver investigators have contacted law-enforcement officials all over Canada and the United States, including Det. Tom Jensen of the King county sheriff's office in Washington state.

Jensen is the only investigator still working on the Green River slayings, in which 49 women were murdered between 1982 and 1984. Most were prostitutes or drug addicts. The killer was never caught.

Vancouver police have also contacted the Spokane country sheriff's office. In that area of eastern Washington, a serial killer is being blamed for the deaths of 10 prostitutes and female drug addicts since November 1997.

July 27, 1999 - Possible Vancouver Serial Killer - Authorities in Vancouver posted a $100,000 reward for information concerning the disappearances of 31 prostitutes. Also, "America's Most Wanted" will feature their investigation in an upcoming episode. Police hope that publicizing the case on "America's Most Wanted," will convince any of the women who have left Canada to contact their families.

June 1, 1999 - Possible Vancouver Serial Killer - Investigators in Vancouver have talked with King County detective, Tom Jenson, the only investigator still working the Green River killer case. With Vancouver just 117 miles north of Seattle, there is some thought that if a serial killer could be operating on both sides of the border.

May 29, 1999 - Possible Vancouver Serial killer - Two more prostitutes have vanished from Vancouver's red-light district. A spokeswoman for the Vancouver Police Department said that Andrea Fay Borhaven 27, and Linda Jean Coombes, 40, have been added to its list of missing "sex-trade workers." Both were drug addicts. The number of missing prostitutes now totals 25.

May 23, 1999 - Possible Serial Killer in Calgary - In a 19-month period in the early 1990s five women, four of whom where prostitutes, disappeared and their bodies were later found dumped around the outskirts of Calgary. Then the killings stopped -- and there have been no more prostitute murders in Calgary for the last six years. Police believe a potential suspect for the killings might have been jailed for another murder.

May 20, 1999 - Possible Vancouver Serial Killer - British Columbia has backed away from funding a controversial offer to buy cell phones for Vancouver prostitutes. The offer was retracted on the grounds the phones would be used by the prostitutes to solicit business and because the money could be better used to address issues that force women into the illegal sex trade.

May 13, 1999 - Possible Vancouver Serial Killer - Amid fears that a serial killer is preying on Vancouver's prostitutes, the Canadian province of British Columbia agreed on to provide cell phones to women plying the sex trade in a depressed city neighborhood. Provincial officials said the phones would allow the women to call the police for help if they were attacked.

April 29, 1999 - Possible Vancouver Serial Killer - Vancouver's police board agreed to put up a $100,000 reward in connection with the 21 sex workers who have disappeared from the city's eastside. The families of the missing women applauded police for acknowledging for the first time that the women could be victims of foul play. Since 1995, 22 "street-involved" women -- mostly prostitutes and drug addicts -- have gone missing. No bodies have been discovered and only one woman has been found alive, leaving 21 still missing. Friends and relatives of the missing women, who believe a serial killer may be responsible for the disappearances

April 7, 1999 - Possible Vancouver Prostitute Killer Disagreeing with city's police department, Vancouver's mayor Philip Owen wants to post a reward to help find the 20 missing Prostitutes. He made the statement hours after Vancouver's police spokeswoman said the department opposes the idea of a reward.

April 5, 1999 - Possible Vancouver Prostitute Killer - Prostitutes in Vancouver's poorest neighbourhood are being invited to record personal details on registries that would give police clues if the women are kidnapped or killed. The move comes amid fears a serial killer is stalking the downtown eastside region of Vancouver where 20 sex-trade workers have disappeared since 1995 -- 11 of them in the last year alone. Two agencies dealing with prostitutes recently launched the voluntary registries; an idea blessed by police even though the discard the idea of a serial killer on the loose.

March 3, 1999 - Possible Vancouver Prostitute Killer - Though they have no bodies or hard evidence to back their claims, prostitutes in one of Vancouver's poorest neighborhoods suspect a serial killer is responsible for the disappearance of more than 20 sex-trade workers since 1995.

September 3, 1998 - Kendall Francois - Authorities in Poughkeepsie, New York, think they have snared a new serial killer after finding two bodies and a number of other body parts in the family home of 27-year-old Kendall Francois.

Francois -- who is black -- has been linked to the deaths of at least eight women who had disappeared from the same gritty Poughkeepsie neighborhood since October 1996. All the missing women had histories of prostitution and drug use. In custody, the bulging serial killer admitted some things that led to a search of the home he shared with his mother, father and younger sister.

September 3, 1998 - Spokane Serial Killer - A missing woman from Spokane, Washington has been added to the list of eight other women presumed to be the victims of a serial killer. Investigators put Melody Ann Murfin on the list after spending more than three months trying to locate her. Although she has not been confirmed dead, investigators do not believe the 43-year-old drug addict and part-time prostitute is still alive. Murfin disappeared May 13.

April 4, 1998 - Spokane Serial Killer - Police believe a woman whose body was found on the same hillside outside Spokane where two previous victims were discovered in December is possibly the seventh victim of the local serial killer. Like the six other victims, Linda Marie Maybin, 34, died of a gunshot wound. Linda had been missing since November 22. Investigators would not say how many other similarities the latest case shared with the other deaths, other than to note the common dumping site. Maybin may have been involved in prostitution and drugs, as the six others were, police said.

February 12, 1998 - Suspected Spokane Serial Killer - An hour after the end of a candlelight vigil held for the victims of an apparent serial killer in Spokane, Washington, police announced that they had found a new body. Police suspect a serial killer to be responsible for the deaths of six dead drug-addicts and/or prostitutes since November. The women all died of gunshot wounds and their bodies were found in rural areas. Police are also looking into possible links with 11 other unsolved killings of area women since 1984 -- the year the Green River killings in the Seattle-Tacoma came to an end.

January 31, 1998 - Suspected Spokane Serial Killer - The killings of seven women since late summer -- four of them in the last weeks of '97 -- have resurrected the specter of Seattle's Green River killer. A task force investigating the suspected serial killings is also looking into possible links with 11 other unsolved killings of area women since 1984 -- the year the Green River killings halted at a three-year toll of 49 women. Based on FBI analysis of the crimes authorities announced: "At this time, we're very confident in saying that our individual, or individuals, is in no way connected to the Green River killer."

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies estimate that there are between 35 to 50 serial killers on the lose in the U.S. at any one given time. Other estimates put the number of killers close to 500. In either case officials expect these numbers to continue their dramatic rise. According to a 1984 FBI Behavioral Unit study of serial murder, serial killing had climbed to "an almost epidemic proportion." It is believed that presently there are up to 6,000 people a year dying in the hands of a serial killer.

Although a predominantly North American activity, serial killing is on the rise in all points of the globe. Particularly, with shifts in the geopolitical world order, serial killing has become part of the national landscape in South Africa and the Soviet Union. A predominantly white phenomenon, there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of black serial killers. Even historically peaceful places like Costa Rica now have a serial killer. 

C.P.A.Confidence Group Enterprises Inc.

Geographic profiling expert

 

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Updated: August 21, 2016