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RCMP mum on claims suspect dumped clothing in site

The Richmond Review

By Martin van den Hemel
Staff Reporter

March 20, 2004

Developer eyes land for 90,000-square-foot facility

A site which a local man claims may contain evidence in connection with a Port Coquitlam man accused of murdering missing women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside is being eyed for redevelopment.

Mark Patrick Photo

Onni Group is planning to develop this property along River Road, which a local man says may contain evidence regarding the missing women serial killing case in Vancouver.

The Richmond Review has learned the Onni Group soon plans to submit a development permit to build a 90,000-square-foot facility after having assembled five properties on Knox Way and Burdette Street, just east of No. 6 Road.

According to the city's property tax records, the land was owned in 2003 by North Arm Industries and the North Fraser Port Authority. A contact could not be found for North Arm, and the port authority did not return messages by press time Friday afternoon.

A Richmond man named Dave said he saw either Robert Pickton, or Pickton's brother Dave, dump women's clothing during the mid-1990s at the site, which is a collection of addresses:14271, 14377, 14411 Knox Way, 1231 Burdette Way and 14460 River Rd.

The RCMP said they are aware of the site but aren't commenting on whether they plan to dig it up to look for clues or if they have already investigated the area.

"People's families have a right to know," the man said while giving The Richmond Review a tour of the property including the spot where he believes investigators will find women's belongings, including clothing and a black hand bag with identification that he specifically remembers.

Dave said in 1994 or 1995, he saw three small truck loads of clothing dumped there. Of the women Pickton is alleged to have murdered, one was last seen in 1994 and four were last seen in 1995.

The reason Dave recalls this so clearly is that a backhoe operator complained about the large quantity of women's clothing strewn there.

Ron Zaruk, owner of Norm Ron Construction, admitted that he worked on that property as a backhoe operator during the mid 1990s, but said he never saw any clothing.

Zaruk owns another commercial soil dumping site, at No. 9 and River Road, and said he's known the Pickton family since 1971 through their excavation business. He said he only saw "Willy" Pickton a couple of times and dealt mostly with his brother Dave Pickton. He continues to deal with the Pickton family to this day.

The site on Knox Way was supposed to be restricted to the dumping of soil from excavation sites.
That's why the clothing stood out against the soil and captured his attention and that of his brother, Dave said. But they dismissed it at the time because they thought Pickton had simply broken up with a girlfriend and was getting rid of her stuff.

But when Pickton's name surfaced a couple of years ago, Dave said he knew it was important to pass the information to police and that's what his brother did.

However, since that time, he's not aware if police have followed up on the lead.

Dave said he's not sure whether the person who dropped off the clothing was Robert "Willy" Pickton, the man accused of being a serial killer, or his brother Dave Pickton, who did most of the dumping for the Pickton family business.

Dave said he actually picked up a black hand bag-containing photo identification and some cosmetics-that was dumped there by one of the Pickton brothers. The bag did not contain any money or a wallet.

The fallow site is covered with five-metre-high mounds of soil topped with grass, shrubs and trees. There's a large pond of standing water at the centre of the property, which is also littered with tires and garbage.
The Richmond Review contacted Onni Group, but the company would not comment.

Pickton, 53, is charged with 15 counts of first-degree murder. The Crown has indicated it plans to lay another seven charges against him before he stands trial. In late January, the task force announced it had discovered the DNA of nine other women on his Port Coquitlam pig farm. His next appearance is in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster in June.

Copyright 2004 Richmond Review

Witness saw clothes dumped at landfill

The Richmond Review

By Martin van den Hemel
Staff Reporter

March 19, 2004

Local claims man was either Robert Pickton or his brother

The Missing Women's Task Force could turn to a Richmond landfill on River Road for evidence after a local man reported seeing a man dump women's clothes at the River Road site during the 1990s.

Dave, who asked that his last name not be published, told radio station News1130 reporter Ron Bencze about what he'd witnessed because he hadn't heard whether information his family had passed on was being actively investigated. Dave said it was his brother who walked a police investigator around the site near Knox Way.

Dave said he wasn't sure whether the person he saw was Robert Pickton or his brother Dave Pickton, but recalls seeing large amounts of women's clothing being dumped at a River Road site near No. 6 Road on at least three occasions.

"I watched Pickton dump stuff there," Dave told The Richmond Review on Wednesday afternoon, adding that the Pickton brother he saw drove a small white pick-up truck with red lettering indicating the Pickton farm name.

"At the time, I never thought about it. At first, we thought he'd broken up with his girlfriend and he was dumping her stuff. Now that this has all come out, we can't believe he'd be so reckless to dump all of this stuff in front of us."

But he did think it was odd that Pickton drove out of his way, all the way from Port Coquitlam, to dump such a small amount of garbage in Richmond.

"If they were to do some digging they'd find women's clothes," Dave said.

It wasn't until Pickton's name surfaced a couple of years ago that Dave and his brother put two and two together and contacted police.

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Catherine Galliford said: "We are aware of the Richmond site."

But she said she was unable to comment further, including when or if the local site would be dug up.

The Pickton family is also connected to another Richmond landfill.

Ron Zaruk, owner of Norm Ron Construction, said the Pickton family regularly used his site on No. 9 Road and River Road to dump soil since 1971.

But he never saw women's clothing being dumped, and he was at the site nearly everyday.

"I've known their family since the 1970s."

Zaruk said the Pickton family runs an excavation business and he continues to deal with them to this day. But he's never been approached by police, nor has he felt it necessary to contact them since Robert Pickton's arrest.

"I didn't really know Willy (Robert Pickton). I dealt with him twice in my life."

Robert Pickton, 53, is charged with 15 counts of first-degree murder. The Crown has indicated it plans to lay another seven charges against him before he stands trial. In late January, the task force announced it had discovered the DNA of six other women on his Port Coquitlam pig farm. His next appearance is in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster in June.

Copyright 2004 Richmond Review

 

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Updated: August 21, 2016