VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Mother prepares for Pickton murder trial
Sarah McGinnis, Calgary Herald
Published: Sunday, December 17, 2006
Marilyn Kraft last saw her stepdaughter Cynthia Feliks at Christmas time.
"She was belly-aching because her sister got a better present than she did," Kraft chuckled as she remembered the girls unwrapping their new clothes.
"Typical sibling rivalry, but that was them. Cindy said, 'even her wrapping is nicer'."
A decade later, Kraft -- who now lives in Calgary -- is preparing herself for the trial of the man charged with killing Cynthia and 25 other women.
But when Port Coquitlam pig farmer Robert William Pickton faces a jury on six counts of first-degree murder in January, he won't be tried for Cynthia's death.
"There never is any closure to it," said Kraft, who took over raising Cynthia when she was five years old.
"There is acknowledgement that these women deserved to be treated respectfully. By having him charged with (murder) they acknowledge they were women who did die at his hands, they weren't anonymous people. But there never will be closure."
Kraft admits her daughter wasn't perfect.
The normal girl with a bright smile was introduced to drugs at 16 during a visit to see her biological father. Soon, she was frequenting Vancouver's seedy downtown eastside, turning tricks for cash to feed her drug habit.
Cynthia tried to escape prostitution and addiction. She married and had a daughter Theresa, but the streets soon called her back.
Periodically she'd phone home to say she was all right.
In 1997, the calls stopped.
Kraft has been fighting for Cynthia ever since.
She battled for three years to have Cynthia's name added to a list of missing prostitutes. Cynthia was ultimately added in 2001.
When investigators found evidence linking Cynthia to Pickton's Vancouver-area pig farm, Kraft campaigned to have Pickton charged with her daughter's death and eventually he was.
Pickton has pleaded not guilty to 26 counts of first-degree murder.
But British Columbia Supreme Court Justice James Williams ordered that Pickton would be tried on only six charges in the new year.
The remaining 20 counts of murder, including one for Cynthia's death, are expected to be heard in a second trial.
Kraft wanted her daughter to be included in one of the six charges to be heard in Pickton's first trial, which will start Jan. 8.
She fears that once that lengthy trial -- expected to last at least a year -- ends, the second trial may never happen.
And she worries no one will ever by held responsible for her daughter's death.
Justice Williams picked which charges would be tried first because he said the evidence in those counts is materially different than the others.
"I have my doubts they're going to spend all this money on six and turn around and have more trials. I don't think so," Kraft said.
When the serial murder trial commences in New Westminster next month, Kraft won't be there.
She says it's too hard.
Justice Williams is warning the evidence presented will be "graphic and distressing," and Kraft says the entire year-long journey will be an emotional ordeal for families like her.
For now, Kraft is trying to hold onto the good memories of Cynthia.
"I'm just trying to get through Christmas," Kraft said Saturday. "It was her birthday a couple of days ago; that makes it even harder."
© The Calgary Herald 2006
Updated: August 21, 2016