VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Pickton Trial: Welland family's agony
I hate his eyes, lost woman's sister says
By Dana Brown
On a memorial shelf in her computer room, Lilliane Beaudoin displays framed photos of her sister Dianne (Marin) Rock.
The pictures standing on the top shelf show a young, vibrant, smiling woman. In one, she stares straight at the camera with bright blue eyes.
In another, she stares into the distance, a wedding veil cascading down her thick, dark hair.
The stacked shelf is a tribute to all of the family members Beaudoin has lost over the years.
But of all those family members, none have left as many questions behind as the woman on the top shelf.
A woman whose DNA somehow ended up on the pig farm of accused serial killer Robert Pickton.
A woman who was doing well, but slipped a little and ended up on a short ride to the bottom, caught up in a life of drugs and prostitution.
A woman who is one of 26 Pickton is accused of murdering. His trial into the murders of six women begins today in New Westminster, B.C., almost five years after the man accused of being Canada's worst serial killer was arrested. "I hate looking at him, I do," Beaudoin says, tears building.
"I hate looking at his eyes. I can't stand his eyes."
Beaudoin isn't expecting answers about what happened to her sister anytime soon. Rock's case is not one of the six being prosecuted in this first trial, which is expected to take a year.
A ruling to sever the cases has left the deaths of 20 women to be tried later. It's a decision the family can't understand. They are calling for a public inquiry into the handling of the investigation and court proceedings.
"The ruling is wrong," says Lilliane's husband Rene. "It's insensitive. It's insulting. And it borders on mental cruelty." After years of waiting for details, the family is being forced to continue their wait. They fear Rock's case might never come to trial, lost in a bid to save time and taxpayer dollars.
The petite, 34-year-old mother of five was last seen alive Oct. 19, 2001.
Rock was raised in Welland, taken in at six weeks by Denis and Ella Marin and adopted by the time she was four. Beaudoin was 13 when her new sister joined the family. Rock was the youngest of four girls and one boy.
After becoming pregnant with her first child at 15 and marrying young, Rock struggled with many issues, including drugs.
But she had cleaned up and was doing well in Vancouver and attending school when a hard time with her divorce sent her over the edge. She started using drugs again and began to slide.
Her mother, Ella Marin, now 77, says her daughter would call her and tell her she needed money.
"She says mom, I got no place to live, I'm sleeping in my car."
Marin, who begins to cry whenever she talks about her daughter, would always send the money.
Rock's daughter, Carol-Ann Cote, told The Spectator in an earlier interview how as a teen she walked the nasty streets of Vancouver's downtown eastside looking for her mom.
At just 14, she described approaching people smoking crack in doorways and others injecting heroin in alleys. It was the worst place she had ever seen in her life.
She didn't find her mom there.
"She was a good woman," Cote said. "She was a very, very good woman. She took care of us very well at first.
"She couldn't handle the drugs. She was not capable of taking care of anybody -- not even herself -- at the time."
As Pickton's trial starts, all five of Rock's children have decided to deal with the issue privately, Beaudoin says.
Now ranging in age from nine to 23, four of the children live in British Columbia and one lives in Ontario. There are three grandchildren Rock never met and a fourth one on the way.
"To them, they would like it all to stop, but it's not going to," Beaudoin says.
They're young, she says. The stigma of the way the women Pickton allegedly killed have been portrayed -- as just drug addicts and prostitutes -- is not an easy thing for them to deal with.
But Beaudoin is prepared.
"I am willing to take all the gory details in and to understand it all, to learn what happened to my sister," she says.
Since finding out Rock was murdered nearly five years ago, she has kept herself sane by gathering information.
Beaudoin has filled three binders with hundreds of meticulously gathered news clippings about the case. It's her way of coping.
Beaudoin can't watch movies or television shows with an investigative theme any more. All she sees are the ways her sister could have been killed.
"All you see is Dianne flickering around you," she says. "Dianne being murdered."
Rock's childhood friend, Lorrie Addis, says she won't follow the Pickton trial. She tries to avoid coverage of the case. Addis doesn't want to think about how the friend she made in Grade 7 was murdered.
She can live without those answers, preferring instead to picture Rock still living across the country, settled in B.C.
"It's easier to put her there," Addis said.
But not for Beaudoin. Until she knows what happened to her sister, until she knows how Rock died and can give her a proper funeral, she will devour all of the information Pickton's trial brings to light.
"Our last five years has been consumed by this case with my sister. And it's going to consume my life until the day it's done."
Updated: August 21, 2016