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Meat from Canada Farm May Have Had Human Remains

Wednesday Mar 10, 2004

Reuters
By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Pork products processed and distributed from the farm of accused Canadian serial killer Robert Pickton may have contained human remains, police and health officials said on Wednesday.

Pickton raised and slaughtered pigs at the Port Coquitlam farm as a part-time occupation until his arrest at the property in February 2002, and police believe he gave or sold processed meat products to friends and acquaintances.

Pickton, 53, is awaiting trial in the killings of at least 22 of more than 60 missing Vancouver prostitutes who disappeared over the past decade and are feared to have been murdered at the dilapidated farm 20 miles east of Vancouver.

"Given the state of the farm, and what we know about the investigation, we cannot rule out the possibility that cross-contamination may have occurred," B.C. provincial Health Officer Perry Kendall told reporters in Victoria.

"Cross-contamination could mean that human remains did get into or contaminate some of the pork meat," Kendall said.

Officials stressed that the farm's pig slaughtering operation was not officially licensed and he did not sell processed meat to retail outlets.

"There is no evidence we are dealing with anything other than a very specific localized issue, with a specific number of local people," said Cpl. Catherine Galliford of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Kendall said he was not contacted by the police until last month when they asked a "hypothetical question' about the potential health risk. He issued the alert when they later said it probably happened.

Details of evidence from the farm were presented in court last year at Pickton's preliminary hearing, but a court order prohibits reporters who covered the hearing from publishing details of what they heard until it is used in his trial, which will likely not start until next year.

Police defended the timing of their contacting health officials, saying it was needed to protect the investigation, although they also acknowledged more people may have received meat from Pickton than they had originally thought.

"We have carefully considered all the issues," said Vancouver Police Detective Shelia Sullivan.

Pickton is officially charged with 15 murders but prosecutors have said seven more counts are waiting to be filed. Tests have identified the DNA of nine more women, but not yet resulted in charges.

The victims were among more than 60 drug-addicted prostitutes who disappeared from Vancouver's poor Downtown Eastside neighborhood. Families of the missing women expressed horror at the news, with one telling a Vancouver radio station bluntly. "I'm not eating dinner tonight."

Pickton, in custody since his arrest, is the only person charged in the case. He has not entered a plea to the criminal charges but denied wrongdoing in a related civil lawsuit.

Courtesy of

Alert issued over meat from Pickton farm

WebPosted Mar 10 2004 04:33 PM PST

VICTORIA - B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall says human remains may have ended up in meat from the pig farm at the centre of Vancouver's missing women's case.

The farm in suburban Port Coquitlam is co-owned by Robert Pickton, his brother and his sister.

He has been charged with 15 counts of first-degree murder – and the Crown has announced plans to charge him with the murders of seven more women.

Those charges were laid after DNA of several women missing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside were found at his farm.

Dr. Kendall says there's a possibility of cross-contamination of meat produced at the farm.

Kendall says the meat was never distributed commercially. But about 40 of Pickton's friends and neighbours ate meat from the farm during barbecues or were given some to take home.

Kendall adds that tests on samples show a very low risk of disease from the meat, especially if it was cooked – and there's no evidence if any disease transmission related to the case.

He's calling on anyone in possession of frozen pork products from Pickton's farm to contact the Missing Women's Task Force at 1-877-687-3377.

Pickton is not expected to go to trial until late this year or early in 2005.

Courtesy of the CBC

Missing Women Joint Task Force Seeks Help

March 10, 2004

Statement issued by Missing Women Joint Task Force at 5:00 pm in Vancouver

(Cpl. Catherine Galliford - RCMP Missing Women Spokesperson): The first thing we would like to say, is that we apologize to the families of the missing women involved in our investigation. A leak of information to the news media today, from an unknown source, created a situation in which many family members were suddenly being contacted by news reporters without first getting the facts from police.

Over the past few hours, members of the Missing Women Joint Task Force have been trying to call as many family members as possible to share with them what facts we can. The process is continuing as we speak.

As you are aware, the Missing Women Joint Task Force is continuing with its complex investigation into the disappearance of women, predominately from Vancouver’s Downtown East Side. The investigation has so far resulted in 15 counts of murder being laid against Robert William Pickton.

A major part of our investigation was an extensive search of a Port Coquitlam farm property owned in part by Mr. Pickton. Some of the activities on that property included the raising and slaughtering of animals, including pigs. Our continuing investigation has yielded information that meat products from the Port Coquitlam farm may have been obtained by acquaintances of Mr. Pickton, and others.

We must make it very clear that there is no evidence that meat produced at the farm ever received wide distribution or was available through retail outlets.

Let us stress that point with you. There is no evidence that we are dealing with anything but a very localized issue, involving a specific number of local people.

We do know that conditions at the farm were unsanitary, including areas where animals were slaughtered. Because of that, it is possible that some of the meat produced at the farm may have been exposed to disease and other contaminants, as well as to human DNA.

(Det. Cst. Shelia Sullivan - Vancouver Police Missing Women Spokesperson): The issue related to the health effects of meat coming from the Port Coquitlam farm is a matter for the specialized knowledge of health authorities. What the Missing Women Joint Task Force is very interested in is additional possible information related to the ongoing police investigation.

We are asking anyone who still has in their possession any meat product obtained from the Port Coquitlam farm to immediately contact the Missing Women Task Force. Our number is 1-877-687-3377. Specifically, we are look for any meat that was obtained over the past several years, up to February of 2002 and is still in the possession of individuals – for example, still in their freezer.

Our chief reason for having people contact us is that the meat in their possession, the meat obtained from the Port Coquitlam farm, may have been exposed to, or is possibly connected to, existing evidence that is related to the murder charges against Mr. Pickton.

In addition, the Missing Women Joint Task Force want to talk to any individual who ever visited the Port Coquitlam farm, and who has not yet talked to police.

We will take a few questions at this point, but please bear in mind that a court-ordered publication ban still applies to the preliminary hearing involving Mr. Pickton. In addition, there is still an ongoing police investigation underway by the Missing Women Joint Task Force. For that reason, we are narrowly confined as to what we can share with you.

Released by:

Catherine Galliford, Cpl.
RCMP - Missing Women Spokesperson
Phone: (604) 945-1581
and
Shelia Sullivan, Detective Cst.
VPD - Missing Women Spokesperson
Phone: (604) 598-4308

Webmaster "E", Division
Communications Section
5255 Heather St.
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1K6

Phone: (604)264-2929
Fax: (604)264-3200
Email: media.webmaster@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

 

Email: wleng#missingpeople.net 

Missing Women Tip Line: 1-877-687-3377

Updated: August 21, 2016