VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Missing woman found alive
She disappeared from Downtown Eastside and wants no family contact
Monday, December 04, 2006
One more woman who disappeared from the Downtown Eastside has been found alive, reducing the official police list of missing women to 65 names, The Vancouver Sun has learned.
Wendy Louise Allen, who vanished in 1979, has been found alive -- living under a different name in Ontario -- by the Missing Women Task Force.
She was located by the task force in July, but that information was not made public until The Sun made inquiries about Allen.
"The Missing Women Task Force confirms that in July 2006 they confirmed that Wendy Allen was alive. She was located in another province," said Cpl. Pierre Lemaitre, who speaks for the RCMP in B.C.
"The reason they did not go public with it was at her insistence. She was living under another name and had no desire to have contact with her relatives here."
The police list of women who vanished from the Downtown Eastside grew to as high as 69 names, but has now fallen to 65 because three other women have also been found. Police discovered Tammy Fairbairn was living in central Canada in May 2005; The Sun contacted Linda Grant in the U.S. in June to confirm she was still alive; and Mary Lands phoned the RCMP later that same month to say she was alive.
Lemaitre said no other women on the list have been found that the public hasn't been told about.
He said police spoke to the media when the first three women were found, but made a different decision with Allen.
"With this file, unlike the others, the Missing Women Task Force refrained from advising the media that the woman had been found due to her personal reasons," he said.
Lemaitre said police tracked Allen down to confirm she was alive; in other cases, such as Lands and Grant, the women discovered themselves on the missing-women poster and notified police.
Lemaitre said Allen has lived in Ontario "for several years," but didn't know if she had been there since she vanished nearly 28 years ago.
Allen's relatives have been informed that she is alive and not still missing. However, Allen does not want contact with them.
"This is a happy and a sad development," Lemaitre said of finding Allen. "It's obviously still sad in some respects for her family because she doesn't want to see them."
The women on the list of missing disappeared between 1978 and 2001. Allen is the second-oldest case, as she was last seen March 30, 1979 -- however, she was not reported missing until April 5, 2002.
Her photograph is one of only a handful of black and white images on the missing women poster. With her trademark 1970s short hair, she gazes innocently at the camera in the picture.
Allen, who was originally from the Lower Mainland, was 33 when she disappeared; she will turn 61 later this month. When she was last seen in 1979, she was described as having long brown hair and blue eyes.
The task force announced in July 2002 that it was looking for information about Allen and eight other women who may be missing.
Police said at the time that the nine additional women fit the profile of the other missing women in that they frequented the Downtown Eastside, were addicted to drugs or alcohol and, in most cases, had some contact with the sex trade.
Five of the nine women (including Allen) were reported missing for the first time in 2002 -- after the high-profile search of Robert (Willie) Pickton's Port Coquitlam pig farm began in February of that year.
Pickton has since been charged with killing 26 of the women on the list of the missing.
Pickton has pleaded not guilty and his trial on the first six counts of murder is to start in January.
Lemaitre said the task force continues to investigate the whereabouts of the 39 other women on the poster.
© The Vancouver Sun 2006
Updated: August 21, 2016