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Forsaken: The Report of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry - Vol 2

Forsaken: The Report of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry - Vol 2

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Published by Paisley Rae
VOLUME IIA – Nobodies: How and Why We Failed the Missing and Murdered Women, Part 1 and 2
VOLUME IIA – Nobodies: How and Why We Failed the Missing and Murdered Women, Part 1 and 2

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Published by: Paisley Rae on Dec 18, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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In mid-August 2001, CPIC queries conducted for all missing women in
the province result in additional missing women being identifed. It is
also noted that there have been additional women missing from the DTES
since the release of the 1999 missing women poster. Further resources
will be needed. Women have never stopped disappearing; police had
misinterpreted the information coming in.

Cst. McCarl requests that a list of all the names and birthdates of the missing
women and dead victims being investigated by Project Evenhanded be
prepared. He inquires whether an offine CPIC search had been done
on all of the victims and then whether a secondary search of CPIC had
been done to see if any suspects were checked at around the same time.


Volume IIA

These two levels of search had not been done consistently throughout the
investigations; this request was one way to narrow the suspect pool.

He admits that while this would be time consuming, it may be of assistance;
it could place suspects in proximity of time or location of the missing
women. This proposal is discussed at a Project Evenhanded team meeting
on August 27, 2001.

In August, Brian Oger, a student hired by the VPD for data entry into SIUSS
for Project Evenhanded, writes a serial killer theory essay and indicates
that not enough is being done to solve the missing women cases. Criminal
profler Staff Sgt. Davidson later confrms the accuracy of the statistical
analysis in the report. Mr. Oger is later investigated for a media leak.

On August 28, 2001, Det. McKnight submits a progress report, noting that
the review of Project Amelia’s 1348 tips identifed 300 tips with persons
of interest and background checks prioritized: there are 31 Priority 1 fles,
60 Priority 2 fles, and 101 Priority 3 fles. Exhibits from the murder and
attempted murder fles have been sent to the lab. Sexual assault fles still
need to be reviewed. Additional fles that may be related to the missing
women have been found and further follow-up is needed.

On August 30, Staff Sgt. Adam presents a report to senior management listing
four investigational problems: (1) a lack of recovered bodies eliminated
forensic potential; (2) very loose time frames surrounding disappearances
limited ability to investigate; (3) a large suspect pool; and (4) inadequate
resources to conduct the exhaustive research required. He noted, “From
all indications STWs are continuing to go missing. There is a signifcant
urgency that we move quickly to identify a suspect if possible.”

Adam notes that they are reviewing 107 murders and approximately 600
miscellaneous other offences; there are 24 DNA samples from the women
but no DNA data bank in which to hold them; and there are potentially 22
additional missing women to add to the original list of 31. Consideration
is given to adding more women to the poster. At the end of the meeting,
a decision is made to increase the investigators on Project Evenhanded
to review the missing women fles and research the possible additional
missing women fles to decide if they “ft the profle.”667

Months go by

before Project Evenhanded shifts gears to a more proactive investigation.

In early September 2001 meetings of Project Evenhanded, it is noted that fle
reviews for Prince George and the Northern Interior have been completed,
and Vancouver city fles are next. A thorough investigation is needed for
the recently reported missing women fles. Overall, there are 3000 fles to
be reviewed. Four more investigators will be provided: two from each of
the VPD and RCMP. The focus continues to be on reviewing fles, not on
pursuing active investigation. Fifty-three women are now considered as
potentially missing from the DTES.

In September 2001, Det. Little prepares a short list of the prioritized persons
of interest for Project Evenhanded: Pickton is listed as Priority 1.

Forsaken: The Report of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry


Project Evenhanded continues to expand. It is agreed that the VPD Victims
Services Unit will be responsible for communications with family members.
A family meeting is held on October 14, 2001. Families are advised that
they have 1000 suspects and that 25 new missing women have been
identifed. Sgt. Adam tells families that one of the major problems with this
investigation is that there are no bodies, and the body of a murder victim
is the starting point in any investigation. Without a body, there is virtually
no forensic evidence. The team has instead decided to look historically at
the murders of all women engaged in the sex trade and female hitchhikers.
Information and questions stemming from this meeting are followed up.
The families’ anger with the police – especially the VPD – is communicated
to senior management. Complaints are received about Sandra Cameron of
the VPD MP Unit, and Sgt. Hetherington is assigned to investigate.

By October 18, 2001, SIUSS has been installed on one computer. Sgt.
Adam will meet with key players from the VPD to develop joint strategies to
deal with the current situation involving women engaged in the DTES sex
trade. The United Native Nations is noted to be mounting an attack on the
VPD for the way they have handled missing Aboriginal women.

On September 30, 2001, Project Evenhanded contacts NWPS about missing
person Cynthia Feliks.

In October 2001, Project Evenhanded struggles with a lack of clarity about
which missing women should be included in their investigation. For
example, Heather Chinnock is considered not to have a “strong connection
to the DTES” so should not be on Evenhanded’s list.668

Many missing
women fles that match the profle are being held and investigated by the
original agency (most fles are held by the VPD and Lower Mainland RCMP
Detachments). Det. McKnight believes that Project Evenhanded members
should be assigned to contact the investigators of these fles and determine
the status of the investigation.

Since the original list of 31 missing women (four of whom were later found)
was developed in 1999, 22 new missing women have been identifed. Four
out of this new group have been found, leaving 18 new missing women.
This brings the list of missing women to 45.

On October 24, updates are provided at a joint meeting of members of
Project Evenhanded and Project Amelia. Suspect prioritization continues,
but there are 250-300 suspects/persons of interest remaining from Project
Amelia fles and new RCMP fles also have to be reviewed. When this fle
review is complete, a list of the top 100 will be made.

Sgt. Adam’s update of October 29, 2001, sets out the numerous obstacles
facing the investigation. The VPD fle review is going slowly and more
help is needed. The DNA lab can only take 6-10 new cases from Project
Evenhanded per month and the missing women work is the lowest priority
because the fles are still not connected to a crime. There are 18 missing


Volume IIA

women which will soon be stated offcially. Suspect prioritization is
ongoing. Sgt. Adam could send people out to start collecting cast-off DNA
but there is a lack of resources: other suspect DNA from the phase 1 review
is still coming in and the lab already has more than it can handle. Det.
McKnight advises that without assistance it will take Cst. Verral nine months
to a year to review all of the VPD Sexual Offences Squad’s fles.

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