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Mother of Pickton victim was rebuffed when she tried reporting daughter missing

NEAL HALL, VANCOUVER SUN DECEMBER 16, 2011

VANCOUVER - The mother of one of the victims of serial killer Robert Pickton testified today at the Missing Women inquiry that she was rebuffed when she tried to report her daughter missing a decade ago.

"She was very nasty on the phone," Marion Bryce recalled of her first contact with the Vancouver police Missing Persons unit on March 5, 2001.

Bryce went to the Vancouver police station to report her daughter, Patricia Johnson, missing because she hadn't contacted her son on his seventh birthday the day before.

The mother recalled her daughter had two children, a son and daughter who are now teenagers, and never missed a birthday or any other special occasion.

Bryce said she last heard from her daughter on Mother's Day that year.

But when she tried reporting Patricia missing, the civilian clerk working in the Missing Persons unit was dismissive of Bryce.

"She told me she [Patricia] was just out there partying because she was working girl and that she'd eventually show up," the mother recalled.

Bryce said she returned the next day to the police station with photos of Patricia, hoping to bring them to a detective working in missing persons.

But she got the same nasty woman on the phone, who again gave her the brush-off, she said.

"She told me to leave them [the photos] at the front desk," Bryce testified, adding she never got the woman's name.

The mother believes the photos were never delivered to the missing persons unit.

Bryce called police a number of times to find out if there was any information about her daughter's disappearance.

Months went by and no one from the police department called her back, she said.

"With all these girls going missing, they weren't doing nothing about it," Bryce told inquiry commissioner Wally Oppal.

"They weren't doing their job at all," she said of the Vancouver police.

"Nobody called me, nobody cared," Bryce testified about the months after she first reported Patricia missing. "They weren't doing anything for any of the girls."

The inquiry is probing why police didn't catch Pickton sooner -- the serial killer wasn't arrested until 2002, despite Vancouver police receiving tips in 1998 and 1999 about Pickton being responsible for the women going missing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

Pickton was charged with Johnson's murder, along with the murders of 19 other women, as part of a second trial that was never held.

Shown a copy of a missing person report for Patricia dated May 31, 2001, Bryce said the missing report was finally taken when she went to visit Vancouver police with another daughter.

The mother said she finally went to visit police with another daughter.

She said a detective did come to interview her in June 2001. After that, other detectives came to see her at various times.

Her last contact with police, she said, was in 2005, when Bryce was shown a bracelet with a ring attached, which had been found at the Pickton farm. She told police the jewelry had belonged to her missing daughter.

Police never returned the items, Bryce said.

Tim Dickson, the lawyer representing the Vancouver police department at the inquiry, offered Bryce an apology Friday for the way she was treated by the civilian woman in the missing persons unit.

"That is disturbing," he said. "It is totally contrary to the department and its employees."

The inquiry has heard how Sandy Cameron, the civilian woman who took calls in the VPD's missing persons unit, treated many family members in a rude and dismissive manner when they first tried to report their loved ones missing.

Cameron was investigated after police received complaints but she wasn't moved out of the job for five years.

Pickton, now 62, was arrested on Feb. 5, 2002, when police began searching the Pickton family farm in Port Coquitlam.

The forensic search, the largest in Canadian history, took 18 months and Pickton was eventually charged with 27 counts of first-degree murder.

The trial judge decided to divide the charges into two trials, with the first trial dealing with six murders, which Pickton was convicted of in 2007 after a year-long trial.

The Crown decided not to proceed on the second trial after Pickton exhausted all appeals.

The remains and DNA of 33 women were found on Pickton's farm. He confessed to an undercover officer that he killed 49 women.

The inquiry has adjourned until Jan. 11, when Alberta RCMP Supt. Bob Williams is expected to begin his testimony about a report he prepared that analyzed the problems inherent in the RCMP's handling of the Pickton investigation.

The Vancouver police passed along tips about Pickton, whom VPD investigators considered a prime suspect, to the Coquitlam RCMP because the killer lived in Port Coquitlam and killed the women on the farm.

nhall@vancouversun.com

Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Photo of Patricia
Patricia Rose Johnson

 

 

Email: wleng#missingpeople.net 

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

Updated: August 21, 2016