VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Park bench pays tribute to missing women
Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows News, Wednesday, March 15, 2000
By Roxanne Hooper
A memorial bench in a Vancouver park will pay tribute to 27 women still missing from the downtown eastside, and one of those women is former Maple Ridge resident Janet Gail Henry.
The bench in Crab (Portside) Park, at the foot of Main Street, will be the site of a dedication ceremony on Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m.
Family and friends of these missing women are expected to gather at the park this weekend. They will form a circle around the bench, pass a talking stick hand to hand, and speak in turn of their memories of their loss, said tribute organizer Wayne Leng.
Maple Ridge’s Sandra Gagnon will be among those attending the dedication ceremony, and she’ll be there to remember and draw more attention to the disappearance of her youngest sister Janet Henry.
Henry was 36 when she was last seen at an East Hastings hotel in Vancouver on June 25, 1997. She had a drinking and drug problem, numerous health problems and may have been involved in prostitution.
She is one of 31 women, reportedly all involved in prostitution, who disappeared in the past five years from Vancouver’s downtown eastside.
Last year the Vancouver City Police took a proactive stance and began dealing with all the disappearances as if they could be connected, rather than individually. In conjunction with the Ministry of Attorney General, the Vancouver City Police issued a $100,000 reward and plastered posters around town. Eligibility for that reward runs out May 1.
Then last July, Fox Television aired information and pictures of Henry and the other missing women on a brief segment of America’s Most Wanted.
Since the increased media attention, four of the 31 missing women have been found, Leng said.
Two of the women are dead, but two were found alive. Patricia Perkins was last seen in 1978. She walked away from her family and young boy and still refuses contact. Rose Anne Jansen was last seen in 1991. Leng said she has some mental health issues, but medical records show that she is alive.
"To me, the memorial bench, the posters, the media coverage is more of an awareness effort," Gagnon said. "Every time we do something for the missing women, it shows we’re doing something for our loved ones."
As always, Gagnon vows she will never give up until she finds out what happened to her sister Janet Henry – whether she’s alive or not.
"No matter what, I’m not going to give up trying to find some answers to what happened to Janet," she said.
There is an informational website that has been set up about the missing women at: www.missingpeople.net
To report information about Henry’s disappearance or any of the other missing women, call Crimestoppers at 669-TIPS, to remain anonymous. Or call Vancouver City Police at 717-3415.
Updated: August 21, 2016