VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Surrey woman visited pig farm for years: fiancÚ
Tuesday, March 12, 2002
Heather Chinnock had been visiting the Port Coquitlam pig farm that is now the subject of a massive police search for nearly a decade before her disappearance last April, her fiance said Monday.
Speaking outside a memorial service for Sereena Abotsway, Garry Bigg said Chinnock would sometimes spend several days at a time at the pig farm and considered it a refuge from her difficult life in Surrey's sex trade.
"Heather used to call it her farm. The guy used to tell her to call it her farm, that's what Heather told me. I guess when they were out there they had kind of the run of the place. Heather had talked about even working out there on the farm," Bigg said, adding that Chinnock had been going to the property for at least 10 years.
"At the time Heather seemed to think it was a very nice place. She invited me to some of the parties out there at different times, but I didn't go."
Bigg said he called Vancouver police and the RCMP about the farm several years ago, but he did not hear if any followup was done.
In recent weeks, he has given a full written statement to RCMP, Bigg said.
He said Chinnock, as well as Abotsway, of whom he was a close friend, both went to the farm.
Police have been searching the Port Coquitlam property since Feb. 5 and have charged one of its owners, Robert (Willy) Pickton, with two counts of first degree murder in the deaths of Abotsway and Mona Wilson.
Chinnock, Abotsway and Wilson were all involved in the sex trade and all disappeared some time in 2001, becoming numbers on the list of 50 missing women.
But while Abotsway and Wilson disappeared from the Downtown Eastside, Chinnock worked in the sex trade only in Surrey, Bigg said, though she would visit him in the Downtown Eastside.
"It is not just on the Downtown Eastside that the missing women are happening. It is in Surrey, too," he said.
Friends of another woman on the list, Andrea Joesbury, have told reporters that she, too, would go to the Port Coquitlam farm to party.
Police have not disclosed what they have found on the farm, or what led to the murder charges against Pickton, though they confirmed Monday that families of the missing women were shown items of clothing and jewelry at a meeting during the weekend.
"Over a period of about three hours, family members had an opportunity to view pictures of items collected by investigators. The items mostly related to personal articles of clothing, jewelry, and other personal effects. Family members were taken individually into a room to view the items and to meet privately with investigators," Vancouver police Detective Scott Driemel said.
RCMP Constable Catherine Galliford said some of the 70 relatives at the meeting asked about the history of the case. The initial Vancouver police probe, begun in 1998, has been the subject of criticism.
"We can say in general, that people wanted to know about the fate of their loved ones. Was there anything new? Anything promising? How could they help? There were also some questions about the history of this investigation," Galliford said.
Both Galliford and Driemel said family members have been urged by police not to talk to the media.
Meanwhile, an official complaint into the Vancouver police department's handling of the case has been filed with the police complaints commission by Surrey-Newton MLA Tony Bhullar.
Commissioner Don Morrison did not return phone calls Monday.
For Bigg, the loss of Abotsway as well as his fiance has been a "double knockout."
After Chinnock went missing in April, he turned to his friend Abotsway for support, he said.
She disappeared at the end of July or early August and was confirmed dead last month, allowing her family to hold Monday's mass at Holy Rosary Cathedral.
"Sereena was my strength. She was the one I talked to about Heather. She helped me keep my sanity," Bigg said, crying.
"I got a lot closer to Sereena when Heather went missing because Sereena knew that kind of lifestyle. She knew what I was going through. She knew it was hard when somebody went missing."
He said Abotsway was worried about meeting the same fate as Chinnock.
"She was fearful herself that something might happen to her. She didn't like being out there working the street. I guess it was just circumstance."
Updated: August 21, 2016