Friday, April 28

Soldier hit by axe asks to return to duty

Soldier hit by axe asks to return to duty
Apr. 28, 2006. 06:44 PM

VANCOUVER — A Canadian soldier recovering from a near-fatal axe attack mustered up the strength earlier this week to whisper to a doctor that he wanted to go back to Afghanistan to complete his mission.

The doctor then told Trevor Greene what happened to him, but the soldier's father says he suspects his son is disappointed he won't be able to fulfil his mission in Afghanistan despite the brutal attack that almost killed him.

Richard Greene said Friday his son had no idea that an axe-wielding Afghani youth had attacked him from behind until the doctor explained to him precisely how he landed in hospital.

"He asked the doctor if he would go back to Afghanistan once he recovered from these injuries and that was the key on Wednesday for the doctor to inform him of what happened and the fact that he will not be recovered until the deployment is back in Canada," Greene said.

The doctor told his son that treatment would be ongoing and that the healing would progress slowly.

"He accepted that," Greene said. "He's discussing it and he's coping with it. I'm sure that he's very, very disappointed that this happened and he's not over there doing the work that he was trained for.

"He was blindsided, he was hit from behind so he doesn't really know what happened. We know what happened. We've been informed of exactly what happened, step by step, by military personnel."

Greene, 41, is recovering at Vancouver General Hospital, where he was transferred after a brief stay at a U.S. military facility in Landstuhl, Germany.

He was attacked March 4 while sitting down for what he thought would be a friendly gathering of elders in an Afghanistan village.
Ambush in Afghanistan (March 10)

Greene had put down his weapon and removed his helmet during the meeting when a villager in his teens snuck up behind him, pulled an axe from his clothing and struck him in the head. Canadian and Afghani soldiers shot and killed the attacker.

"It was a Taliban attack and they play dirty," the soldier's father said. "It was a betrayal of confidence that these people give to our Canadian soldiers, that they will be protected whenever they're meeting with people."

His son suffered severe motor control damage to his brain and was in a coma for three weeks, said Greene, who has been in Vancouver from Mahone Bay, N.S. — about an hour southeast of Halifax — to support his son during his recovery.

"He's talking now, except that it's very low in volume, kind of in a whisper," Greene said.

"He's eating a lot of homemade food, which he really likes," Greene said with a laugh about the son who's known for his hearty appetite.

Regaining the use of his arms and legs will be one of the biggest challenges for the athletic soldier, Greene said.

He said his son is "a very solid person," although it's hard to know how news of the attack will affect him.

But Trevor's spirits have been buoyed by the good wishes of people from around the globe, Greene said.

"We've gotten e-mails and cards from people that we don't know, from all over the world — Japan, Australia, England.

"There's a bunch of us down on the East Coast there that are pushing for him and praying for him as well as so many other people right across the country."

The soldier's wife, Debbie, along with their 15-month-old daughter, Grace, are also helping him to stay positive, Greene said.

"He just brightens up when Grace comes in. She calls him Dada and she just watches him when she's around."

Greene, who was a journalist for eight years in Tokyo, doesn't yet know that a book he wrote on homelessness there, called Bridge of Tears, may now be published, his father said.

"He lived with the homeless in Japan, he followed them and it's a rather interesting story in that the Japanese don't recognize that they have homelessness in their society. So those people are kind of the forgotten people in Japan."

Despite the soldier's ordeal, Greene fully supports Canada's mission to Afghanistan.

"Those people over there have been suffering for years, decades, with different kinds of wars and so on."

Canada has had troops deployed in Afghanistan since 2001 as part of the U.S. invasion force Operation Enduring Freedom:21ET 28-04-06

Trevor is the author of 'Bad Date, The Lost Girls of Vancouver's Low Track'

Tuesday, April 25

Geraldo to air case of missing British Columbia woman

Geraldo to air case of missing B.C. woman

The Canadian Press
Tuesday, April 25, 2006

KAMLOOPS, B.C. - The search for a Kamloops woman missing in Las Vegas has attracted the attention of a famous TV journalist.

FOX news correspondent Geraldo Rivera will spotlight Jessie Foster's story on an upcoming episode of Geraldo At Large.

Film crews travelling to Kamloops were expected to arrive today or Wednesday to conduct interviews with the family, says Dwight Foster, father of the missing woman.

Foster hired Mike Kirkman, a private investigator with Las Vegas Detectives, to find his 21-year-old daughter.

Kirkman says Rivera became interested in the case after the story of Jessie Foster's disappearance was in the media on both sides of the border.

She went missing three weeks ago, after living in Las Vegas for about a year.
Kirkman's investigation revealed that shortly after moving to Las Vegas, she started dating a man who may be a pimp. His wife is a known prostitute who allegedly threatened Jessie on numerous occasions.

"It's an awkward case because law enforcement looks at it as a missing person," Kirkman said. "It's not a crime to be missing. Unless a crime is committed they don't work it much."

© The Edmonton Journal 2006

Sunday, April 23

Cops, news media still missing the missing women

Cops, news media still missing the missing women

Posted by Heather Travis
February 1, 2006 :: 06:00 AM

As the preliminaries in the Pickton trial begin, some are putting both the police and the media on trial as well, charging that both are guilty of neglect toward native women.

While the sexual, racial and social status of Robert "Willie" Pickton's alleged victims dominates their descriptions in the news – little to no consideration of their personal lives has made it into print.

That's the charge being leveled by CBC News: Sunday associate producer Audrey Huntley who has been documenting the stories of missing Canadian Native women. She believes that news stations are continuing to make the same mistakes that Vancouver Police and RCMP did, deferring their investigation despite the evidence set before them.

A cross country pilgrimage

In a pilgrimage during the summer of 2000 from Toronto to Vancouver's Downtown Eastside – where she lived for three and a half years – Huntley investigated the stories of missing Native women, as told by their families on aboriginal reserves. The end result is a video series - Traces of Missing Women.

Huntley has a personal attachment to the missing native women because she is of mixed native and settler ancestry. Before she joined the CBC, Huntley worked with aboriginal women in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and has joined various activist groups that support aboriginal issues, including the Sisters in Spirit Campaign. Huntley's career has been dedicated to bringing attention to issues affecting aboriginal women.

"[Native families] most of the time felt that they hadn't got the attention [of officials]," said Huntley. "They were met with a lot of indifference on the part of the police or whomever they tried to get help from." She added that the media either just "didn't care" or reduced the victims to implicitly-guilty drug-addicted prostitutes, even though some victims were not.

Huntley has devoted herself to highlighting Canada's history of "dealing with" Natives, attempting to pull them in from the margins of society.

"I have a friend that went to them [police] in '98 and told them about the [Pickton] farm," Huntley said. "They said that she was a `junkie ho'." And they ignored her testimony about the missing Native women.

The media, too, has overlooked the women's stories out of disregard for their sources. News focus on the Pickton trial has skated over the fact that peers and family members were issuing warnings about Pickton almost 20 years before a police investigation was initiated in 1998.

That investigation, in tandem with a new "missing women task force," reviewed files of at least 40 women reported missing since 1971.

It was not until February 5, 2002 that Pickton's farm came under police scrutiny, however. Later that month, Robert Pickton was charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

Racial overtones

Why did the police ignore Pickton and missing women for so long? ? Because many of the women were social outcasts, says Huntley. The prevalence of drug-addicts and prostitutes among the missing – not to mention Native – rendered them inconsequential.

The racial undertones inherent in the Pickton trial beg the question: How much does race play into police and media treatment of Natives?

In 1998, the same year the Pickton investigation began, media coverage of another murder case followed a similar trajectory.

Pamela George, a woman from the Ojibway nation, worked as a prostitute and was brutally murdered in Regina, Saskatchewan by two young, middle-class white men who had solicited her services.

The defense team argued that George was complicitin her own murder by virtue of her risky profession. The judge asked the jury to consider this "fact" in their deliberation.

As University of Toronto's Sociology and Equity Professor Sherene Razack writes in the article "Gendered Racial Violence and Spatialized Justice," the Pamela George case points to a systematic judicial failure to ensure equal treatment for Natives.

Why media matters

With the judicial system and police distrusting the Native community, the media may be the only outlet for a public call to arms to protect marginalized groups.

"All of us [society] bear some of the responsibility in this case," said Mary Lynn Young, journalist and professor at the University of British Columbia's School of Journalism, about the Pickton case. "It is our job as journalists to make these [women's] stories interesting."

At least one victim of racism has found reporters who will take that responsibility.

Myrna McCallum went to the police on January 23 of this year seeking help finding her runaway daughter, Alicia. She filed a missing person's report, but police did nothing until the media got wind of the case.

The Vancouver Sun published a story about the 14-year-old native girl's disappearance and within days Alicia had been returned home.

The media is now an accountability system for police and courts that may yet hold biases against Native peoples. But whether the news media lives up to our new expectations is yet to be seen.

Obviously, families of the alleged victims of Robert Pickton are hoping the media is up to the challenge.

"It is a story that begs to be sensationalized," said Huntley about the Pickton trial. "[However], the women weren't just drug addicts and prostitutes, they were mothers and aunties." They need to be treated as such.

Audrey Huntley produced a feature length story for CBC News: Sunday titled "Go Home Baby Girl" that documented the story of Norma (Lorna) George, a missing Native woman, and her family's struggle to cope their loss and the uncertainty surrounding the cause for her death. It can be viewed on the CBC News: Sunday website.

Saturday, April 22

Public gets increased access to Pickton trial papers

Judge now allows rulings to be viewed


April 22, 2006

VANCOUVER -- The judge in the mammoth Pickton murder trial provided for increased public access yesterday, allowing members of the public to view rulings at the court registry that could not be published by the news media.

Robert Pickton is on trial for first-degree murder in the deaths of 26 women. Most of the women were prostitutes and drug addicts from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, one of Canada's most impoverished neighbourhoods. Mr. Pickton was arrested on Feb. 22, 2002, after several years of increasing alarm over women who had suddenly disappeared.

Mr. Justice James Williams of the B.C. Supreme Court is currently considering the admissibility of evidence. A jury for the trial is expected to be selected later this year.

The court proceedings are open to the public, but a court order prohibits the news media from reporting what happens during the so-called voir dire stage of the trial. The publication ban is intended to ensure that prospective jury members do not hear evidence outside the courtroom that may compromise Mr. Pickton's right to a fair trial.

Despite the precautions to restrict publication, Judge Williams has not read out the rulings in court in their entirety. Instead, he has notified the prosecution and defence teams directly of his decisions, which in effect means that the public does not find out what he decided or the basis for his decision.

Earlier this year, he allowed the news media to report that he had dismissed a 27th charge of murder against Mr. Pickton. But he permitted public access to only the final paragraph in a 46-paragraph ruling.

The Globe and Mail, The Vancouver Sun and The Canadian Press asked the court to provide public access to his rulings. The prosecution and defence teams expressed a concern about publication of his decisions.

Judge Williams said he accepted that the publication ban has been effective so far. "There is no principled basis upon which to deny access to the substance of the rulings," Judge Williams stated in a decision released yesterday.

However, he also emphasized that the existing bans on publication would continue. The rulings should be available for viewing, but no copies of the rulings will be released, he stated.

Friday, April 21

Disappearance raises fears

Disappearance raises fears
Private eye tells horrified family that daughter was working for violent pimp

Ethan Baron
The Province

Friday, April 21, 2006

A former Boston Pizza waitress from Kamloops has vanished in Las Vegas after apparently falling into the clutches of a violent pimp.

Jessie Foster, 21, last contacted her family March 28. Her bank accounts and credit card have shown no activity since then. Her

several-times-a-week calls to family members have ceased altogether.

"She's a good kid," said Foster's mother, Glendene Grant of Kamloops. "We're talking about a girl who got As on her report card. She never smoked cigarettes. She never did drugs."

A year ago, Foster arrived in Las Vegas on her way home from a trip to Florida with a friend.

"She called me from Las Vegas and said, 'Mom, I like it here, I'm going to stay," Grant said.

Foster soon met a man named Peter who told her he raced cars and came from a wealthy family. She moved into his expensive condo.

"To her, he was like Prince Charming," Grant said. "What he was, he's just like a frickin' wolf."

A private detective hired by Foster's dad, Dwight Foster, uncovered disturbing information.

Foster, who had graduated from high school and went on to work as a waitress at Boston Pizza in Calgary and Kamloops, was convicted in Las Vegas of soliciting for prostitution in June 2005. Last September, she was charged with four more counts of that offence, investigator Mike Kirkman said.

Her Prince Charming was married to a convicted prostitute and he had been found guilty of spousal abuse.

Associates of Foster told Kirkman that Peter had beaten her up and that they'd seen the bruises.

"I think you can draw your own conclusions as to what he may be," Kirkman said. "In English, it's called a pimp."

Peter told Foster's mother that he came home April 3 to find Jessie had taken all her belongings and moved out.

Las Vegas police brought Peter, 39, in for questioning.

"We're interested in him enough that we brought him in a second time," said the department's public information officer Tim Bedwell.

It appears Peter has a considerable amount of money but no legitimate source of income, Bedwell said.

But police have no evidence of a crime in relation to Foster's disappearance, and Peter's conviction for spousal assault isn't enough for a warrant to search his home, Bedwell said.

Peter is the only person police know of in the Las Vegas area to question in connection with Foster's disappearance, Bedwell said.

Peter told The Province he has no involvement with the prostitution business and that he never physically abused Foster.

"I don't give a s--t what the hell they say about me," Peter said. "When I met Jessica Foster, she was a hooker."

He said Foster stayed with him on and off and he thinks she's now working as a decoy for the police, or has gone underground to avoid being deported for prostitution offences.

With each hour that passes, hope fades a little more for Foster's family. But her mother leaves a voicemail message for her daughter every day.

"Jessie, we're looking for you, baby," her mother says. "Don't worry, we're going to find you."

© The Vancouver Province 2006

Book a Monument to Canadian Women Murdered by Men

Authors aim to inspire and galvanize people to continue forging ahead in efforts to end violence against women


In their new book, Sly Castaldi, left, and Prof. Christine Bold document many of the Canadian monuments dedicated to women murdered by men, including this one in Marianne's Park. Photo by Martin Schwalbe
The five authors of the new book Remembering Women Murdered by Men are the first to admit the title is controversial.

In their new book, Sly Castaldi, left, and Prof. Christine Bold document many of the Canadian monuments dedicated to women murdered by men, including this one in Marianne's Park. Photo by Martin Schwalbe

“I know it's very intense for people, but it should be painful and uncomfortable and serve as a call for action,” says Sly Castaldi, a U of G graduate and executive director of Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis.

The book, which documents about 35 of the more than 60 monuments across the country dedicated to women who have been murdered by men, aims to inspire and galvanize people to continue forging ahead in the work of ending violence against women, Castaldi says.

The authors, who call themselves the Cultural Memory Group, consist of Castaldi, Profs. Christine Bold and Ric Knowles of the School of English and Theatre Studies, U of G graduate Lisa Schincariol and former U of G human rights adviser Jodie McConnell, a development specialist for the Ontario government's Women's Directorate.

When they began this project nearly eight years ago, they agreed that the words “murdered by men” had to be in the title of their book in order to help support the women in communities across Canada who have met with resistance for placing those same words on public memorials.

“It's building solidarity with the women who created the memorials that included the words ‘murdered by men,'” says Bold. “The women memorial makers in Vancouver faced death threats because they wanted those words to be part of monument inscriptions. It takes courage to name men's violence against women.”

Castaldi and Bold say that, like the title of their book, the more visible monuments are in the community, the harder it is to ignore the violence that led to the memorialized women's deaths.

Although the authors say the memorials themselves can't put a stop to violence against women, they provide a place to work for change, to build awareness and to continue building support for the issue.

Marianne's Park in Guelph, located on Gordon Street along the Speed River, is an example of an effective monument, say the authors. The park is dedicated to the memory of Marianne Goulden, a resident, volunteer and eventual staff member at Women in Crisis who was killed by her common-law husband in 1992. Because of its central location and high visibility, the monument is used for “Take Back the Night” marches. Similarly, the Cactus Garden in the Thornbrough Building and the Reflection Garden behind the Boathouse at the bottom of Gordon Street hill are used by students and the general public for the annual Dec. 6 ceremony of remembrance for the 14 women who were murdered at Montreal's École Polytechnique in 1989.

“It might not look like active resistance, but if a memorial is shoved in the corner, it can't be used in an active political way,” says Castaldi.

The authors' research started with looking at how Marianne's Park contributes to the fight against violence against women and exploded from there once they realized there were monuments united in purpose across the country.

“Once you put the stories of the monuments together, there is this network that is invisible yet hugely powerful,” says Bold. “One of the stories the network as a whole tells is that this violence is systemic. In any individual community, you might think: ‘Well, that's an isolated incident.' But when you see more than 60 monuments across the country, it tells us something of the way power works in society.”

In conducting their research, the authors heard the same stories over and over of memorial workers who met with resistance in getting approval for monument funding, locations and inscriptions.

“Those stories just seized us, and we started to recognize the same patterns in struggles across the country,” says Bold.

At their April 5 book launch at The Bookshelf, a woman approached Castaldi saying she was in the early stages of planning a memorial. “I told her to study the book, so she'll know where the tender spots are and where the challenges are.”

The Cultural Memory Group found that women have been working hard in isolation from each other and, until the launch of Remembering Women Murdered by Men, have had limited access to one another's experiences. A parallel project,, is also making it easier for memorial makers to learn from each other by building an online community dedicated to fostering resistance to the murder of women.

Unlike in the academic community, the work of the activist community is generally not well-documented, says Castaldi.

“This book is such an important piece of feminist activism because it is recording feminist remembrance as a powerful contribution to the movement to end the violence against women.”

Proceeds from the book, which was published by Sumach Press and sells for $28.95, go to Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis to keep supporting the cause.

Finding closure: Family of woman killed by Wayne Nance

Finding closure: Family of woman killed by Wayne Nance visits the site where her body was buried

By MICHAEL MOORE of the Missoulian

Nearly 22 years later, there's still a slight depression on the Deer Creek hill where Missoula serial killer Wayne Nance laid one of his victims.

Derek Bachmann follows retired Missoula County Undersheriff Larry Weatherman down a slope on a snowy Monday afternoon to put flowers where Bachmann's sister, murdered by serial killer Wayne Nance in 1984, was found buried in the Deer Creek drainage. His sister, Marci Cheri Bachmann, has been missing and unidentified for nearly 22 years.

“Well, at least it's a pretty view,” Derek Bachmann said Monday as he walked away from the forested site where his older sister, Marci, was found dead on Christmas Eve 1984.

Tears then came to Bachmann's eyes, and he walked away, back to the gravel road that winds above the Milltown Dam.

“All right, I think I'm done out here,” he said.

Bachmann, his brother Troy, and their stepbrother, Tony Barnes, made the trip to Missoula over the weekend to meet past and present officers of the Missoula County Sheriff's Department who played a role in investigating Nance and, eventually, identifying the woman who for two decades was known as “Debbie Deer Creek.”

“I don't want our sister to be just another victim of Wayne Nance,” Derek Bachmann said.

To that end, the 36-year-old Bachmann described his sister as a loving, caring young woman who was always there for him.

“Marci was a kind and gentle and loving individual,” Bachmann said. “ Š She has been the light out at the end of the tunnel.”

Bachmann wasn't in Missoula to talk about the family life that drove Marci from her mother's home in Vancouver, Wash. He simply wanted her remembered as the sister who was always there.

“I can't remember a day I haven't thought of her,” he said.

The teenage Marci, her brother's “beam of light,” ran away from her mother's home sometime in 1983. In the late summer of 1984, Marci stepped out of a long-haul trucker's cab and into the door of the Cabin Bar in East Missoula, where Nance occasionally worked as a doorman.

By late September, she was dead, buried in a shallow grave just off Deer Creek Road above the dam. Her body was found about three months later by a photographer, but authorities couldn't identify her. She was 16.

That identity eluded investigators for nearly 22 years, but earlier this month a series of DNA tests led to the positive identification of Debbie Deer Creek.

“It's one of the most important things law enforcement can do,” Larry Weatherman, the county's former undersheriff said late last week. “It brings closure.”

Weatherman worked on the Nance case years ago, and he continued to do follow-up work on Marci Bachmann's identity, even after he was retired.

The first big break in the Nance case came about two years after Bachmann, who was calling herself Robin when she arrived in East Missoula, was killed. On Sept. 4, 1986, Nance was killed during a failed attempt to kill his boss at Conlin's Furniture and her husband.

While investigating that incident, investigators learned that Nance had killed before, possibly many times. They even found a picture of the young woman now identified as Marci Bachmann, but couldn't match that photograph to any known missing persons report.

Unfortunately, Bachmann's name had been taken off the missing persons list kept by the National Crime Information Center earlier that year because of a report that she had been seen near Seattle.

Derek Bachmann said he'd spent the last 12 years trying to find out what happened to his sister. He combed Internet sites about missing people and called and sent letters to hundreds of law enforcement agencies. He hired a private investigator, and got nothing but a “lighter wallet” for his trouble.

“Of all those calls, I only got two calls back,” he said.

One of those calls came from Raphael Crenshaw, a King County, Wash., sheriff's detective assigned to work on the Green River serial killings. The other came from Greg Hintz, captain of detectives at the Missoula County Sheriff's Department.

Crenshaw had come across Marci's file while investigating the Green River killer, Gary Ridgeway, who admitted murdering 48 women between 1982 and 1998. Crenshaw tracked down Marci's mother, Beverly Charlton, who confirmed that her daughter was still missing and who provided a DNA sample.

Crenshaw eventually gathered other DNA samples from family members, and a lab at the University of North Texas, working with a federal grant to help solve cold cases, matched those samples to evidence that Missoula County authorities had submitted to the same lab. The news came April 6.

While the family is somewhat relieved to finally know what happened, Derek Bachmann said he'd been dismayed to learn how incomplete the NCIC's list of missing persons is. Although each unsolved case is difficult for different reasons, Bachmann said it's sad to realize the sheer number of unidentified bodies in this country, a number close to 40,000.

“It's really sad when you think about it,” he said.

On Monday, Bachmann placed a bunch of red roses in the mossy hole that once held his sister. But he said he'll remain involved in efforts to fine-tune the nation's system of keeping track of its missing citizens.

“I plan to be involved,” he said. “This is bigger than Marci, bigger than our family.”

Reporter Michael Moore can be reached at 523-5252 or at


Copyright © 2006 Missoulian

Saturday, April 15

Off topic - an inspiration to all

Paralyzed 5-year-old forgives gunman

BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) -- Five-year-old Kai Leigh Harriott sat in the front of the courtroom in her wheelchair and looked directly at the man who had just pleaded guilty to firing the shot that paralyzed her.

At first, she broke down, crying harder than she ever had since the night nearly three years ago when Anthony Warren fired three rounds at the house where she was sitting on a porch.

"What you done to me was wrong," she said to the man seated just 10 feet away. "But I still forgive him."

Warren, 29, of Boston had been scheduled to go to trial on six assault and weapons charges last month. He instead pleaded guilty to all charges Thursday.

Prosecutors say Warren, his brother and others had an argument with people who lived on the first floor of the three-family house where Kai lived with her family.

They left, then Warren returned around 11 p.m. on July 1, 2003, and fired three rounds at the house.

One of the bullets hit Kai -- then 3 -- as she sat on a third-floor porch with an older sister. The bullet shattered her spine, permanently paralyzing her from the chest down.

After his guilty plea, the girl, her mother and two sisters gave emotional statements to Judge Margot Botsford, who then sentenced Warren to 13 to 15 years in prison and five years' probation.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Friday, April 14

Lifeline to the street - cops hope hotline may expose a killer

Lifeline to the street
Cops hope hotline may expose a killer

April 14, 2006

City vice cops say the "bad date" hotline they want to set up could stop vicious attacks on hookers - and even catch a serial killer.

"It's going to take one call to find out who's been killing the prostitutes around here and this is what's going to do it," said Staff Sgt. Brian Nowlan, head of the EPS vice unit.

"We're literally one phone call away from finding out who this guy is."

Nowlan submitted a proposal on the hotline to police Chief Mike Boyd yesterday morning after getting letters of support from various groups who work with hookers.

He hopes Boyd will approve the proposal in time to have the hotline up and running by the end of the year, if not sooner. Startup costs are pegged at $20,000.

Nowlan says he's taking a cue from bad-date hotlines already operated by the Toronto Police Service and the Niagara Regional Police.

Edmonton's hotline would be a toll-free, unmanned phone line available 24-7, said Nowlan.

The idea is that the city's prostitutes - who are notoriously reluctant to report bad dates to police - can place anonymous calls providing as much information as they can about violent encounters so that other hookers can be warned about certain individuals.

"It's valuable information that we're just not getting," said Nowlan.

"If we get enough reports it would enable police not only to deliver the information back to the streets to keep these girls alive, but also to track serial offenders.

"I don't doubt that every single street prostitute has one bad date per night."

The hotline will be open to anyone with information on bad dates - even non-sex-trade workers like cab drivers.

An RCMP-EPS joint task force, Project KARE, is investigating the murders and disappearances of 83 people, many of them sex-trade workers from the Edmonton area.

Meanwhile, Project KARE said yesterday it appears Maggie Lee Burke, Corrie Ottenbreit and Delores Dawn Brower met with foul play.

All were prostitutes who worked the 118 Avenue stroll and all three are missing. Ottenbreit and Brower were last seen in May 2004, while Burke was spotted in December of the same year.

While investigators hope for the best, they are preparing for the worst, said KARE spokesman Const. Tamara Bellamy.

"All these girls had families that they kept in regular contact with and now, nothing."

Bellamy said investigating a missing person is similar to investigating a homicide, given cops have to determine who last saw them, where they were last seen and who they were with. "If they're found dead, we've already started an investigation."

Project KARE
Maggie Lee Burke

Sunday, April 9

Missing Sarah author talks about sister

Missing Sarah author talks about sister

By Alain Saffel
April 9, 2006

Author Maggie de Vries will be in Quesnel Monday to discuss her book, Missing Sarah.
Her sister Sarah de Vries is one of Vancouver’s missing women.

Sarah went missing in April 1998. Eventually, her DNA was discovered on Robert Williams Pickton’s property.

Pickton has since been charged with her murder and those of 26 other women.

In Missing Sarah, de Vries reflects on her sister’s story, including a number of excerpts from her sister’s writing, journals and poetry.

Memories of Sarah come from her parents, siblings and people who knew Sarah during 14 years she spent on downtown Vancouver streets.

De Vries’ book won the VanCity Book Prize in 2004 and the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness.

In addition to Missing Sarah, de Vries is an accomplished children’s author.
She will speak in the atrium of the CNC/UNBC campus April 10 at 7 p.m.

Quesnel Observer

Who killed Charlene?

Who killed Charlene?
A year after their daughter’s body was found, parents seek answers

April 9, 2006

Family of an Edmonton woman whose charred remains were found near Camrose one year ago this week are still haunted by the mystery surrounding her death.

Charlene Marie Gauld, a 20-year-old working as an Edmonton prostitute, was last seen alive April 8, 2005, before the grisly discovery of her partially burned body near the intersection of Highway 617 and Highway 623 near Camrose eight days later.

One week after that, her parents, Myrtle and Tam Gauld, issued a public plea for help in catching their daughter's killer.

A year later, that plea has yielded no arrests as Gauld's parents wait for police to get the tip that will lead to closure.

"Anyone who has any information on the person responsible for the death of our daughter needs to come forward," Myrtle said yesterday, reiterating her plea for help.

"People tend to forget over time. Life goes on and things happen, but if we can remind people about (Gauld) and refresh people's memories, maybe it will trigger something in someone and they can come forward."

Gauld, who died just short of her 21st birthday, was described as a sweet, beloved, streetwise kid.

Her mother is still quietly seeking answers surrounding the death of her daughter.
"Hopefully, once the person responsible is found, all my questions will be answered," she said, unwilling to elaborate for fear of jeopardizing the police investigation.

"As a parent of a daughter who has been murdered, I have to be careful of what I say."

Police continue to actively pursue the killer.

"This investigation surely has not gone cold," said Project KARE Const. Tamara Bellamy. "Absolutely every day we are investigating her file, just like all the other girls."

Gauld's is the latest file on Project KARE's mandate. The May 6 death of prostitute Ellie-May Meyer, 33, whose body was found in a farmer's field near Highway 21, north of Township Road 534, remains under the jurisdiction of Strathcona County.

"Although (Gauld) was the last one we had, we do know there are still three girls out there who we suspect met with foul play," said Bellamy.

Gauld was friends with Samantha Berg, 19, who was found dead in an Edmonton parking lot in January 2005, and Rachel Quinney, 19, whose body was dumped north of Sherwood Park in September 2003.

The deaths of Berg and Quinney also are being investigated by Project KARE.

Anyone with information on any of the deaths is asked to call Project KARE at 1-877-412-5273.

Tuesday, April 4

Killings of prostitutes seen as national crisis

Killings of prostitutes seen as national crisis
Seven regions in Canada affected, conference told

Trish Audette, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Tuesday, April 04, 2006

EDMONTON - The Canadian National Coalition of Experiential Women is calling cases of missing or murdered prostitutes a national emergency.

But at their first public conference in Edmonton Monday, the 60 delegates weren't only referring to the cases of 12 women killed in and around the city, where police say one or more serial killers prey on those involved in prostitution.

University of Victoria social work professor and coalition member Susan Strega listed seven regions across the country where prostitutes believe serial killers targeting them are on the loose. The list includes Edmonton, Vancouver's downtown eastside, British Columbia's Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert, Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, the Niagara Peninsula and Toronto.

"We have this kind of embarrassing national shame," Strega said, referring to the estimated 500 aboriginal women who are counted among the missing or murdered. She said prostitutes have nothing but luck to thank for their survival. "It could have been us, any day, any evening. It could have been us."

Delegates -- most of whom have been or are involved in prostitution themselves -- met downtown at the Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel on Sunday and Monday.

"I think it's really important that we're public because we need to educate the public," said Victoria-based delegate Barb Smith. "We believe education is powerful ... We offer good role models, I think we offer a lot of hope."

Dawn Hodges, a member of Edmonton's Prostitution Awareness and Action Foundation, agreed.

"The point of all this is to let people know we exist publicly," she said.
"We are mothers, we are wives, we are sisters, we're daughters, we're everybody."
The seminars offered throughout the conference were mainly academic -- for example, coalition co-ordinator and former escort Lauren Casey presented her research on links between organized crime and prostitution.

"We've noticed that there are a lot of similarities," she said, drawing on her experience in the sex industry and her husband's in a gang. He is currently serving time at a California prison.

"The commonalities are both of them (are out) to get into gang life or sex work because they wanted the money and the excitement and the glamour."

The Victoria woman said it is a mistake to assume a prostitute is a victim while a gang member is a villain -- in many cases, both are seeking personal empowerment.
Her initial findings on interviewing six women and five men in B.C. and California have prompted her to seek funding so she can make her research national.

"This is such a small piece of research but it's never been done," Casey said. "We're advocating for continued research on a national scale."
© The Edmonton Journal 2006

Stigma hampering probe?

Stigma hampering probe?

April 4, 2006

Society's failure to treat sex workers as human beings worthy of dignity and respect could be hampering the search for a serial killer in Edmonton, suggests a prostitute-turned-university professor.

Susan Strega, who turned tricks on the streets of Winnipeg before earning her PhD in social work, says too many citizens - including the media - marginalize sex workers as disposable.

"That fosters the idea that when a sex worker is killed, it's not that serious of a situation and we don't have to worry that much," Strega told the Sun yesterday. "So people don't think about information they have that might be helpful because they're not very concerned."

Strega, who now teaches at the University of Victoria, is convinced someone in Edmonton has vital information about the case but hasn't stepped forward.

She said she remains hopeful that the $100,000 reward for tips leading to the conviction of Edmonton's serial killer will eventually loosen lips "before more women are murdered."

Strega spoke at a one-day conference yesterday in Edmonton hosted by the Canadian National Coalition of Experiential Women, a lobby group for sex workers.

The coalition - including street prostitutes, escorts, exotic dancers and adult film workers from across the country - is calling on the federal government to reform Canada's sex-trade laws.

They want Ottawa to decriminalize solicitation for prostitution, while also striking down a section of the Criminal Code dealing with common bawdy houses.

Samantha Smyth, an ex-stripper in Ottawa, argues the laws are ineffective and make prostitutes' work more dangerous.

The coalition also is pushing for sex workers to receive benefits under provincial labour laws and to be provided with a safe work site.

"Sex work is not illegal in Canada and every human being has a right to a safe place to work," Smyth said.

Anastasia Kuzyk, a call girl in Toronto and a founding member of Sex Workers Alliance of Toronto, said she wants to help improve working conditions for sex workers.

That means legitimizing the sex industry and making it "a legal job where we have employment insurance and worker's compensation," said Kuzyk, 37.

Monday, April 3

Call to legalize prostitution

Call to legalize prostitution
Lobby group in town

April 3, 2006

A national lobby group for prostitutes will be calling for the legalization of the world's oldest profession today when it hosts a one-day public conference in Edmonton.

Lauren Casey, spokesman for the Canadian National Coalition of Experiential Women, says fewer prostitutes would be assaulted and murdered if the federal government reformed Canada's sex-trade laws.

But Conservative MP Art Hanger argues decriminalization isn't the answer.
"I'm surprised some still want to go down that route," Hanger told the Sun yesterday. "It doesn't make it safer to decriminalize it."

Hanger said legalizing prostitution was tried in New Zealand and Australia, where it caused an explosion in child prostitution and the number of illegal brothels.

He said he'd rather see hefty fines - as much as $25,000 - levied against johns to "curb their desire."

Among other proposed reforms, the group also plans to push the Harper government for tougher penalties for the sexual exploitation of young people.

Casey, a former escort with an arts degree, said she wants to make it illegal for anyone 23 years or over to have sex with anyone under 18. She added no one between 18 and 22 should be permitted to have sex with anyone five years their junior.

Hanger said he supports increasing the age of consent to at least 16. "It would be better if it was higher," he said.

The coalition, composed of working and former prostitutes - several with university degrees - has also promised to present "groundbreaking research" on the sex trade at today's conference, booked for the Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel, 10155 105 St.

Topics will range from a general look at violence against women in the sex industry to a media analysis of Vancouver's missing women and the "Edmonton experience," said Casey, who was mum on the exact details.

Research for the presentations was conducted by sex workers with PhDs, master's and bachelor's degrees - all members of the federally funded group founded in October 2003, Casey said.

Project KARE, the RCMP-led task force investigating the deaths and disappearances of more than 80 people who led "high-risk lifestyles" - including prostitutes - planned to send a representative to the conference.

Sunday, April 2

Sex-trade lobby group to meet Monday

Sex-trade lobby group to meet Monday
Canadian Press

April 2, 2006

Edmonton — Fewer women would be victims of murder and other violence if the federal government reformed Canada's sex-trade laws, says a lobby group for prostitutes.

Lauren Casey, spokeswoman for the Canadian National Coalition of Experiential Women, ought to know.

The former escort who worked in the business for 15 years has been pushing for a change in the section of the Criminal Code that makes it illegal for prostitutes to work out of their homes. She also wants Ottawa to decriminalize solicitation for prostitution.

If those changes were on the books, she says, a police task force would not be searching for as many as 80 missing women in Alberta — some whom police believe may have fallen victim to a serial killer.

"Without these changes, women who work on the streets are more prone to murder, rape and violence," Ms. Casey said from her home in Victoria.

"One only has to look at what has been going on in Edmonton. We want to bring some light to what is going on."

Ms. Casey and a group of educators, advocates and sex-trade workers will hold a one-day public conference in Alberta's capital on Monday to press their point.

Along with law reform, coalition members will speak out about the barriers faced by women who want out of the sex industry and about the need for better addiction services for prostitutes.

Ms. Casey said the coalition is also preparing to petition Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government for tougher penalties for the sexual exploitation of young people.

She believes it should be against the law for anyone 23 years or over to have sex with anyone under 18. And anyone between 18 and 22 should not be permitted to have sex with anyone five years their junior.

"They need serious sentences," she said. "For example, if there is a six-year age difference, the person would serve one year in jail. Seven years difference should be two full years in prison."

The RCMP Project Kare missing persons task force has indicated it will send a representative to the conference. So will Alberta's justice and children's services departments, community groups and the Canadian Native Friendship Centre.

The coalition, which operates partly on a $322,000 federal grant which runs out in August, has been criticized by the Tories for using public money. Coalition members are worried that Mr. Harper's government may not want to continue supporting their work through the National Action Committee on the Status of Women.

Susan Strega, a University of Victoria professor of social work, said there must be more research into why men buy sex, especially from children and youth.

"These are 'normal' guys with families, good jobs, who are educated," said Ms. Strega, who is to give two presentations at the conference.

"The size of the market is huge. There is no way in the world that that is being maintained by a little tiny group of pedophiles."

Ms. Strega said the coalition takes exception to the way some media report stories involving prostitutes. The use of words such as whore, hooker and crack addict dehumanize women and contribute to violence against them.

"It encourages people who already feel violent toward sex workers that they are entitled to be violent."

Ms. Casey said the coalition knows its push for sex-trade law reforms will disturb and upset some individuals. But Canadians must accept that prostitutes deserve the same protection as others in society, she added.

"People must realize that this industry is never going to go away. You can't sweep it under the carpet. We need human rights for all."

Heartbreak shared at 'highway of tears' symposium

CBC.CA News - Full Story :
Heartbreak shared at 'highway of tears' symposium
Last Updated: Mar 30 2006 06:53 PM PST

About 500 people are attending an emotional public meeting in Prince George dealing with the deaths and disappearances of nine young women along Highway 16 since 1990.

About 500 people gathered in Prince George to focus attention on the 'highway of tears.' (CBC)

The stretch of highway from Prince George to Prince Rupert, where the women – most of them Aboriginal – have died or gone missing, is known as the "highway of tears."

The families of the women, top RCMP brass, B.C.'s solicitor general, social workers and First Nations leaders are all taking part in the two-day symposium organized by the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

Families of several victims have called for a special police investigative team that would swing into action when people are reported missing.

Matilda Wilson, whose teenage daughter was found murdered more than a decade ago on Highway 16, plans to keep the presssure on police to find the killer.(CBC )

Fourteen-year-old Aielah Saric was the most recent victim found dead along the highway. Her body was found near Prince George on Feb. 10 – a week after she went missing.

Her mother, Audrey Auger, says police didn't do enough to find the teen.

"There was no Amber alert for my baby girl. That's the one thing I was wondering. How come there wasn't an alert, an Amber alert for my baby?"

FROM FEB. 15, 2006: 14-year-old girl murdered in northern B.C.

Matilda Wilson's 16-year-old daughter, Ramona Wilson, went missing while hitchhiking along Highway 16 near Smithers in 1994. Her body was found a year later. (CBC )

Matilda Wilson's 16-year-old daughter, Ramona Wilson, disappeared while hitchhiking near Smithers in 1994. Her body was found a year later.

"I've been trying to make people aware that there's still a killer out there, or killers. It just brings back how much it hurts," said Wilson, who vows to keep up the pressure on police until her daughter's killer is found.

Dan George of the Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council says police should pay more attention to the fact that most of the victims are First Nations people.

"Because of the murders in the [Vancouver] Downtown Eastside, the 'highway of tears' and other crimes targeting First Nations women, they feel as though they are part of a group that has actually been targeted by violent criminals," he said.

"It begs the question, if First Nations women are being singled out, does this constitute a hate crime within our society?"

FOR THE RECORD: Dan George speaks to the "highway of tears" symposium."

FROM FEB. 28, 2006: No evidence of serial killer in Northern B.C.: Solicitor general


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