NO HAPPY ENDING: Sarah
deVries, shown reading to her daughter Jeanie, now 11,
disappeared in Vancouver in 1998.
GUELPH — Four years ago, Sarah
deVries vanished from Vancouver's east side.
This week, with the finding of
new DNA evidence, her sister believes the terrible truth has been
"For me, this is enough
information to come to terms with my sister being murdered," Maggie
deVries said from her home in Vancouver.
Sarah, the adopted daughter of
Guelph resident Pat deVries, disappeared in April, 1998, from an area
frequented by prostitutes and drug addicts. She was 28 and among as many
as 50 women who disappeared from there since 1983.
Family and friends had been
searching for answers for years, until police began combing a Vancouver
area farm last February and discovered the remains of several murdered
Robert William Pickton, 52, now
faces seven charges of first-degree murder. But Sarah's apparent slaying
is not among those charges.
Maggie deVries said she received
a call from police at about 3 p.m. Tuesday, taken on her answering
"I knew when I heard the
message" they had found her, she said, adding there is a sense of relief
knowing Sarah is not suffering.
Police told Maggie "they had
found Sarah's DNA on an object, not blood DNA and not enough for a
murder charge," she said.
Police would not elaborate on
what kind of object it was, but Maggie deVries said the news proved she
touched something at the farm.
For years, Maggie deVries said
she and her mother have accepted the fact that Sarah was gone, because
her caring, friendly manner would not allow her to simply disappear.
"We knew that Sarah was dead.
There was no way she would just leave her family and friends," she said
in an interview Thursday.
Since Sarah disappeared, her
mother has been looking after grandchildren Jeanie, 11, and Ben, 6. Pat
deVries is vacationing with the children and could not be reached.
Two months ago, Maggie deVries
began work on a book chronicling her sister's life and the stories of
other missing women from the east side.
"Because I'm writing a book, the
last few weeks I've been completely immersed in her life, going through
her journals. Right in the most intense part of it, this happened," she
Wayne Leng, a close friend of
Sarah's in Vancouver, said the new information is allowing him to come
to terms with the fact she is gone.
"It's still sinking in. I
haven't slept much the last couple nights, because there's so much to
think about," he said from San Bernardino, Calif., where he now lives.
Leng contacted Maggie deVries in
1998, after Sarah had been missing for about a week. She had vanished
from the spots she used to frequent, such as Hastings St. and Princess
Leng spent two years trying to
alert the public to what was happening, running a Web site devoted to
the missing women.
Sarah was adopted at a young age
and grew up in Vancouver's West Point Grey. She ended up living on the
streets by the time she was 17.
Despite the life she lived,
which included prostitution and drug addiction, people who got to know
her found a person full of love and kindness, Leng said. "She was a very
caring person. People wouldn't realize that right off the bat, but I've
always told people if you had known Sarah, you would have loved her."
He added it is fitting that he
heard about the new information now, since he has a trip planned to
Vancouver this weekend.
"Maggie and I will be going out
to the (Pickton) farm. I think that will bring some closure."