VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Local woman on the list of Pickton's charges
Wed, February 1, 2006
WELLAND - Her name is No. 24 on the alphabetical list of 27: Diane Rock.
It's a sordid who's who of murder victims - sex-trade workers who went missing from Vancouver's notorious skid row, the Downtown Eastside.
There's a local connection here which helps explain interest in the long-awaited trial of Robert "Willy" Pickton, accused of first-degree murder in the deaths of the 27 women.
Rock's roots are tied to Welland where she was raised and where she lived for part of her life. She still has family here. She was given a poignant, emotional and memory-filled memorial service here, in east-side Memorial Park.
Rock's name officially was linked to that of Pickton on April 2, 2002 when a joint RCMP - Vancouver Police Task Force charged the pig farm owner with her death and the deaths of two other women.
Rock was one of the early ones.
The police press release, as documents like this are prone to do, gave little more than bare bones details about that development in the case.
It said: "The current charges against Mr. Pickton are the result of the continuing police search of a farm property located in Port Coquitlam. As you know, that intense search is utilizing the best in scientific evidence-gathering and forensic science. The search involves members of the Missing Women Joint Task Force, a number of RCMP detachments and other municipal police departments throughout the Lower Mainland."
It said Diane Rosemary Rock, aged 34, was last seen on Nov. 23, 2001 and reported missing Nov. 30, 2001.
But it was Liliane Beaudoin who breathed life into the story, who put flesh onto its bare-bones details.
Little by little, Beaudoin told about or filled in about the good and not so good of her adopted sister's life.
"She was a good caregiver," she said in one of the early interviews. "She took care of the handicapped, adults and children. I remember she wanted to work with crippled children, it was her one goal in life."
But the other side of the story portrayed the pretty, petite former Wellander, who grew up as Diane Rosemary Marin, as unlucky in love, unwise in some of the company she chose, a stripper and a drug abuser. Twice married by the time she was in her mid-20s, she was the mother of five children including two with her second husband, Darren Rock.
There was a ray of sunshine, promise of a new life, in the move with Rock and their children to B.C.
For a time, she was happy, doing well in a job for a Community Living group in the Vancouver area. She was working with developmentally-delayed adults and was highly regarded for her dedication, compassion and advocacy on their behalf.
But she started having personal problems, turned to drug use and the marriage began to unravel, Beaudoin said.
Now, almost four years have elapsed from the time Pickton was charged in Rock's death and the start of his trial on Monday.
Speaking from her Fourth Street home, Beaudoin said it seemed as if that day would never arrive.
And now that it has, she says it seems as if it will never end.
The trial is expected to drag on most of the year. The opening portion, which could take months itself, is the voir dire - discussions and legal arguments by the Crown and lawyers about evidence that can be admitted.
"I'm going to be dreading this," Beaudoin said about the trial. "I'm going to be sick having to go through it."
The recently-reported investigation into deaths of sex-trade workers in Niagara Falls stirred up memories for her, she said.
It also stoked up fear, she added.
"Now we have this happening here on our doorstep," she said. "We should be afraid of what's happening to women."
Though Pickton is facing 27 charges of murder, many other drug-addicted, sex trade workers in the Vancouver area are still listed as missing.
Beaudoin finds discomforting the fact that the slain and the missing women will be characterized as street prostitutes with hard-core drug problems. But Rock, she says, was a loving, nurturing mother who, in better days cared deeply for her children, as well as a competent and admired professional caregiver.
"I think what's more important is who they are, not what they were at the end."
She wrote a poem a few years back to mark Rock's birthdate, Sept. 2. It went like this:
I sent a note to heaven
Could you tell me if it is there.
Today it is her birthday
She would have been 35.
Could you see she gets a party
On this happy day in September.
For a present, I have in mind
A couple of different things
But the most important one
Is a brand new set of wings.
If she's allowed to visit us
With her wings all made of gold
Let her come and see us
Every day 'til we get old.
- Joe Barkovich is The Tribune's city editor.
© 2006 Osprey Media Group Inc. All rights reserved.
Updated: August 21, 2016