VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Woman invited to kill prostitute, police told
B.C. missing women case: Friend says sex-trade worker was asked to help stalk a victim
February 16, 2002
VANCOUVER - Police searching for 50 missing women from Vancouver's skid row have been told a woman named Dinah Taylor was once invited to help a man stalk and kill prostitutes from the area.
Cheryl Shalala heard the story from Ms. Taylor -- a prostitute from the downtown eastside.
Ms. Shalala, 23, reported the conversation to investigators who interviewed her this week after she called a police tip line to report it. "They [police] wanted to know exactly what he said, and I told them what he said and all that," she told the National Post yesterday.
Dozens of police have occupied a Port Coquitlam farm since Feb. 7, conducting a massive search considered a major breakthrough in the effort to find out what has happened to about 50 women, largely sex-trade workers, who have vanished from the downtown eastside neighbourhood of Vancouver since the mid-1980s. No bodies ever have been found.
The owners of the farm, Robert "Willie" Pickton and his brother, Dave, have not been labelled suspects in the case.
Police have refused to say why they decided to search the farm, about 30 kilometres east of Vancouver, and have said little about evidence they have seized during the search.
Ms. Shalala said in the summer of 1999, a man drove Ms. Taylor to Ms. Shalala's home. When Ms. Taylor came out of the car, she recounted a disturbing conversation.
"It was like, 'Dinah, I want me and you to go downtown to pick up a girl. I want you to help me kill her,' " Ms. Shalala told the Post yesterday.
"Dinah laughed at him and said, 'Don't be crazy.' He's like, 'Seriously, I want you to help me kill her.' We all laughed it off. It was like 'No, Dinah. He's retarded. You know he's mental. Don't take it seriously.' "
Ms. Taylor, a 20-year resident of Vancouver, was addicted to drugs and active in the sex trade in the city.
Investigators have been able to search the farm thanks to a sealed search warrant.
Yesterday, officers were scheduled to return to interview Ms. Shalala's parents, who also knew Ms. Taylor.
Police have declined comment on their interest in Ms. Taylor.
Ms. Shalala said officers who interviewed her were cryptic about their views on the investigation.
There has been no sign of the Picktons, businesspeople with interests in demolition and farming, since the search began. The family's lawyer was not available for comment yesterday.
Mr. Pickton is facing firearms charges laid around the time the search began. He was charged in 1997 with the attempted murder of a prostitute at the farm. However, those charges were stayed in 1998.
During a briefing yesterday, police said visitors to the trailer on the site have been coming forward to provide DNA samples so that investigators can narrow down DNA samples found in the trailer.
"The DNA that has been found and that which is forthcoming is a top priority for RCMP laboratories across the country," said Constable Cate Galliford of the RCMP.
"RCMP labs from Vancouver to Halifax are working on this case."
Police have assured participants that DNA provided to the Joint Task Force will only be used for the purposes of the investigation, now in its second week.
Ms. Shalala said she has not spoken to Ms. Taylor since last October, when she spoke to her by telephone. She feared that her friend was missing.
But the RCMP confirmed yesterday they have located Ms. Taylor. They declined any comment on their contact with Ms. Shalala.
"We have been in contact with Ms. Taylor," said Const. Galliford.
Updated: August 21, 2016