VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Missing woman's kin: Peace at home is first
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
The mother-in-law of one of Vancouver's missing women told the World Peace Forum Monday that people need peace in their communities before there can be world peace.
CREDIT: Glenn Baglo, Vancouver Sun
Laura Tompkins, mother-in-law of one of Vancouver's missing women, Patricia Rose Johnson, spoke at World Peace Forum.
Laura Tompkins said society didn't do enough to save her daughter-in-law Patricia Rose Johnson, who went missing in February, 2001. Rose is one of the 26 women Port Coquitlam pig farmer Robert (Willy) Pickton has been accused of murdering.
Tompkins said Johnson "was a beautiful woman, she was like a butterfly" and she had no enemies.
"However, she vanished right off the face of the earth and she was only 24 years old."
Tompkins' poignant lament over the tragic fate of her daughter-in-law came at a World Peace Forum session about the missing women of the Downtown Eastside. The session was part of a series of discussions about first nations issues.
Those at the session expressed profound sadness over the fate of first nations women, female drug addicts, and sex workers on the Downtown Eastside. The discussion had the raw emotional candour of a group therapy session.
Tompkins told delegates she has asked herself "why was [her daughter-in-law] disposable?" "Of course, the answer to that is that she was vulnerable, she was a woman and she was on the Downtown Eastside. Because of what she was doing to support herself and support her habit."
Johnson grew up in Vancouver but dropped out of school in Grade 9 to have her first baby. She had another child and developed a heroin addiction. She tried to kick her habit but without success and ended up on the Downtown Eastside.
She was profiled on the Bravo documentary Heroines, produced in 2000, which chronicled the lives of six drug-addicted women who live on the streets.
Johnson was reported missing Feb 27, 2001, by her mother, Marion Bryce, who last saw her daughter after the two spent New Year's Eve together at the mother's Mount Pleasant home.
Tompkins said that despite Johnson's troubles, she "was a person with a lot of dignity, she had an internal strength."
Tompkins said she decided to speak at the World Peace Forum because she felt it was an event where she could use her family's tragedy to talk about social justice.
She said Johnston never received enough help with her addiction to keep her off the streets. "The forces that created Patricia's terrible misfortune --something can be done about it," said Tompkins.
"And it isn't going to be changed by land development, by investors purchasing what they call prime real estate down there and making more condominiums for people who can afford them."
© The Vancouver Sun 2006
Eastside victim's relative speaks out - June 27, 2006
Updated: August 21, 2016