VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Police undecided on private investigators
Thursday, June 10,1999
Vancouver police reserved decision Wednesday on whether to cooperate with private investigators joining the search for more than 20 missing women on the Downtown Eastside.
C.P.A. Confidence Group Enterprises Inc. has already met with some of the missing women's families. C.P.A. says it has taken no retainer, but has its eye on a $100,000 reward.
Vancouver police managers discussed the issue briefly at their morning meeting Wednesday.
"I can tell you there's been no decision made yet," media Liaison Constable Anne Drennan said. "We will be having a meeting later this week to try and determine what our involvement, if any, would be with this company."
Drennan said private investigators occasionally become involved in cases. "But it isn't something that happens very often often in the city of Vancouver." Drennan said police will have to ensure that private firms do not hamper efforts to solve the case.
Maggie deVries, whose sister Sarah is among the missing, welcomes private investigators to the search.
"The more people that try to find out what has happened, the better--as long as they do a good job, and don't interfere in any way with evidence or anything like that."
Police are investigating the disappearance of at least 20 women since 1995. All were involved in drugs or the sex trade, and the case has fueled speculation they have fallen prey to a serial killer.
Police have no evidence any of the missing women has been murdered. But two homicide detectives were recently assigned to the case, and the police investigative team has also had contact with major serial-killer investigations in Washington and New York states.
"The homicide detectives are being included in the working group only to give us a different perspective in terms of the style of the investigation." Drennan said. "This does not, in any way, indicate, nor should it indicate to anybody that, in fact, we believe that all these women have been victims of homicides."
In addition to the homicide detectives, the investigative detectives, the investigative team includes two officers and a civilian member from the missing persons section, as well as a geographic and psychological profilers and Constable Dave Dickson, a veteran beat officer from the Downtown Eastside.
Dickson's temporary assignment to the investigative team has stirred controversy on the Downtown Eastside, where agencies are circulating petitions opposing his removal from the beat.
Deb Mearns, who runs the neighbourhood safety office where Dickson worked, said she understands why the investigation may need him, but said he is also needed on the street, where he is trusted and respected.
The police, however, say Dickson's knowledge of the neighbourhood is precisely why he is so useful on the investigative team.
Updated: August 21, 2016