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Roadblock on serial killer-Cop

Ex-inspector suing force blames stubbornness of cops investigating cases of 30 missing women in Vancouver

Kim Rossmo with counsel

Andy Ivens, The Province, Thurs 21 June 2001
Courtesy of The Province

Vancouver police kept mum about a possible serial killer preying on women because of stubbornness and the high cost of tracking him, former detective inspector Kim Rossmo charged yesterday.

Rossmo, the plaintiff in a wrongful dismissal trial against the police force, testified his expertise as a doctor in criminology was routinely dismissed by VPD investigators working on the case of 20 to 30 women who've gone missing from the city's skid row since 1998.

Most of the missing women are prostitutes.

Rossmo named Deputy Chief John Unger -- one of two defendants in the case -- as his principal nemesis during a five-year stint when Rossmo piled up awards and garnered prestige for the VPD for his ground-breaking work in the field of geographic profiling.

And he accused police Insp. Fred Biddlecombe of being a roadblock in the investigation of the missing women.

Rossmo said the major crime division froze him out of its investigation, even after he was called to a meeting in November 1998 to look at the missing women case.

He said Biddlecombe "threw a small temper tantrum" when he was brought in.

"Insp. Biddlecombe threatened not to send people to meetings, or share information," Rossmo testified.

At the time, he said, he suggested going to the media, partly to save the department any embarrassment if it was proven a serial killer was operating, as Rossmo still suspects.

"I suggested [telling the media] there is a possibility a serial killer is at work on the Downtown Eastside," he said, adding that his suggestion was immediately shot down.

"One positive was that major crime [division] tried to locate as many missing as possible."

Although he never used his geographic profiling talents on the case, Rossmo said the experience was like being on a 747 jetliner when someone tells the pilot there's smoke in the cabin.

"If the captain says, 'Prove to me there's a fire,' you know he's either a fool or incompetent."

Rossmo said he was not alone in his feelings that not enough has been done to solve the missing-women case.

"Many people in the VPD feel the same about this -- frustration."

He cited sex, race and the low social status of the missing women as reasons the VPD went slow, likening the situation to the story of the emperor's new clothes.

"For 18 months, women mainly in the sex trade were disappearing," noted Rossmo. "If you have a serial killer running around, you have to do something about it. Nobody wants to do anything."

Deputy Chief Unger and Chief Terry Blythe declined to comment on Rossmo's bombshell.

They are witnesses in the case and it would be improper for them to talk to the press before giving their testimony.

Ex-Cop Says He Suspected Serial Prostitute Killer

Courtesy of BCTV

Between 20 And 30 Women Have Disappeared

VANCOUVER, 2:48 p.m. PDT June 21, 2001 --Vancouver police say there's still no evidence a serial killer is on the loose in the city's downtown east side, where 30 women are missing.

The issue came up again as part of a wrongful dismissal suit by Kim Rossmo, who developed a geographic profiler program for the police before he lost his job.

Rossmo suggested a repeat killer may be to blame for the missing women, who worked in the sex trade.

But Detective Scott Dreimel says they didn't have evidence of that three years ago, and things haven't changed.

If they do, he says the public will be first to know.

He also denies Rossmo's allegation the police dragged their heels on the investigation into the missing women.

Dreimel says there are several reasons why it's gone so long, including the length of time before a prostitute is reported missing.

He says because they work on the street it's hard tracking down witnesses and leads.

Ex cop Kim Rossmo attacks police over missing women-June 2001
Police hunt for man claiming to be a serial killer-Aug 10, 2001
Serial killer warning could have saved my daughter-June 22, 2001
PACE Report on violence against sex trade workers-June 2001

 

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Updated: August 21, 2016