Wednesday, April 25

The Pickton File

Stevie Cameron turns her renowned analytical eye from the "crooks in suits" of her previous books to the case of Vancouver's missing women and the man who has been charged with killing 27 of them, who if convicted will have the horrific distinction of being the worst serial killer in Canadian history.

It's a shocking story that may not be over anytime soon. When the police moved in on Pickton's famous residence, the "pig farm" of Port Coquitlam, in February 2002, the entire 14-acre area was declared a crime scene -- the largest one in Canadian history. Well over 150 investigators and forensics experts were required, including 102 anthropology students from across the country called in to sift through the entire farm, one shovelful of dirt at a time.

A woman who is considered by many to be this country's best investigative journalist, Cameron has been thinking about the missing women of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside since 1998, when the occasional newspaper story ran about families and friends of some of the 63 missing women agitating for action -- and being ignored by police and politicians. Robert William "Willie" Pickton has been on her mind since his arrest, that February five years ago, for the murders of two of the women, Mona Wilson and Sereena Abotsway, both drug-addicted prostitutes from the impoverished neighbourhood where all the missing women had connections.

Living half-time in Vancouver for the last five years, Stevie Cameron has come to know many of the people involved in this case, from families of the missing women to the lawyers involved on both sides. She writes not only with tireless investigative curiosity, but also with enormous compassion for the women who are gone and the ones who still struggle to ply their trade on the Downtown Eastside.

"We had no idea [in 2002] how massive the investigation would be. We had no notion that the police would sift every inch of dirt on the Pickton farm, a process that lasted from the spring of 2002 to late 2004. We did not foresee the broad publication ban that would prevent any word printed or broadcast of what was being said in court in case it influenced a potential juror. We couldn't know that there would be, by 2006, 27 charges of first-degree murder against Pickton and that the police would continue to investigate him on suspicion of many other deaths. And we didn't know that the police and other personnel involved in the case, under threat of ruined careers, were forbidden to talk to reporters. In blissful ignorance, all I could do was begin…" --Excerpt from The Pickton File

The Pickton File

Tuesday, April 24

Ottawa pushes women into the night

Times Colonist (Victoria)
By Jody Paterson

Friday, April 20, 2007

It's no surprise that federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson is against decriminalizing prostitution. A party with Alliance roots just isn't going to see its way clear to take action on the issues of the sex trade.

But it's still pretty galling to have to read Nicholson's comments on the matter. Decriminalizing prostitution would lead to the exploitation of women, says Nicholson, and therefore can't be tolerated.

Nice theory. But what he's actually saying is that he upholds the status quo.
In other words, the tens of thousands of Canadian women and men who work in the sex trade will just have to figure a way out of it, because the government isn't prepared to do a damn thing about their working conditions.

The killings and disappearances of hundreds of sex workers will continue unabated, because nothing is going to change.
I just don't get it. The sex trade exists because the men of our communities buy sex. There's a demand, therefore there's a supply. That's how a free market works, as Nicholson well knows.

So even if Nicholson's dream came true and somehow the steady flow of Canadians of all ages into the sex trade ended, not even 24 hours would go by before someone hooks into a new supply of sex workers from some distant land where people need money. Got to feed that demand.

The sex trade is on our streets and in our newspapers, phone books and magazines. It's on our televisions. It's in our DVD players. Aside from drugs, sex is just about the most readily available service in any city -- and on sale around the clock to boot.

Not only that, but it's the one service that unites the world. Communist-controlled, dictatorship, capitalist, military-led, profoundly religious -- whatever the form of government, sex is always for sale somewhere in the country.

Sex is also common tourist fare. I visited Cuba years ago and saw grandpas from Toronto and Montreal buying young girls for as little as $5 US. More recently, I had the distinct displeasure during a trip to Prague of being seated in a restaurant next to three American sex tourists engaged in a loud and loathsome conversation about the night before. Here in Victoria, sex workers plan for the tourist season.

So what could possibly be our rationale for shutting out the workers?
Why is their workplace unregulated and without oversight? Why do we even have such a thing as outdoor sex workers? Why do the workers live in shame and profound stigma, judged at every juncture of their lives, while their buyers enjoy ease of service and complete anonymity?

And why do we carry on in this foolish charade about how we're going to address prostitution in Canada by "focusing on reducing its prevalence?"

Give me a break, Minister Nicholson. Just say it straight up: You've got no intention of doing anything about Canada's sex trade.

Reducing the prevalence of prostitution is likely an impossible goal even in an ideal world unless all efforts were focused on reducing demand. But that goal is even farther out of reach in a time when governments are also slashing social supports on all fronts.

Children in particular drift into the sex trade because there's no support system around them -- in their home, at their school or through whatever recreational activities they might have been doing had they ever been connected to them. Outdoor sex work is also primarily an issue of social disadvantage, along with whatever it is that sends men to prowl the streets for sex and violence.

Nicholson's comments are particularly nervy given that his party has often led the charge around social-spending cuts. I'd sure like to hear his theories on how our country will reduce the prevalence of sex workers while actively priming the pump for more disadvantage.

And what the heck is wrong with the rest of us? There isn't a single other mainstream service whose workers face the same kind of routine danger -- all due to a lack of workplace regulation and oversight. With a workforce that's at least 90 per cent female, it would be tough to find a more pressing women's issue.

Yet time and again, the decades-old debate fizzles out with pious musings about the need to prevent exploitation and violence against women. And nothing changes.

We pay a terrible price on a number of fronts. Children continue to suffer in an industry that we completely ignore. Adult Canadians labour in profoundly unsafe conditions. Neighbourhoods break down under the wear and tear of hosting the local prostitution stroll.

I'm still fuming over the Canadian Labour Congress's dismissal of this issue as one that its members are too "divided" on for the congress to take action. I would have thought workers' rights trumped moral judgment. Who are we to judge how someone earns a living -- especially when our own brothers, sons, friends and lovers are the buyers?

Our paralysis is tragic. Conditions are worsening, and all we do is continue to dither over whose ideology has it right. Unbearable.

Monday, April 23

Amateur sleuths keep cold cases alive

By Todd Matthews Presenter,
Radio 4's Internet Sleuths

There are 100,000 missing people in the United States alone and at least 6,000 unidentified bodies. With the authorities struggling to solve so many cases, thousands of volunteers are using the internet to try to match the missing with the unidentified.

After lying unnamed for 30 years, Tent Girl's name was added to her graveIt all started for me with the "Tent Girl", so called because her body was found wrapped up in a canvas tent bag. I heard about the case when I first met my future wife Lori at school.

She had come to Tennessee from Kentucky and told me how her father Wilbur had found a murdered girl in a field near Georgetown in the 1960s.

Her name, Tent Girl struck my soul. It was as if it were almost familiar. As Lori and her family became part of my own family, so did the Tent Girl. Two of my siblings died of natural causes as infants early in my life. She was no different to them in my mind.

I had a place to visit my siblings, but Tent Girl didn't have any family. So she became part of my own family. And I became determined to find out who she was.


I went to her grave many miles away in Kentucky. I visited newspapers in the area to look through hard-copy archives, searching both for stories about the Tent Girl, as well as any accounts detailing a missing person that matched her description.

Todd with his father-in-law Wilbur Riddle, who found Tent Girl's bodyFor 10 years that is how I conducted the search. I spoke to investigators and journalists by phone or in person, looking for any shred of data. I felt so close yet so far, as if the information was just outside my field of view.

As I worked, I also learned many things about how to search for information.

When the internet arrived, the main thing it changed was communication. In the early days the vast online resources available today did not exist. But I could do my searches by e-mail, and information about how to contact government and media offices was easier to find.

Research was much easier, more affordable and realistic. Distance was no longer an obstacle.
But perhaps more important was that it ended the isolation of individual investigators. Once the World Wide Web connected the planet, a natural gathering took place. I found other like-minded people doing the same kind of work.


The internet gave us an opportunity to gather and share information, to work on a common cause. We could cross the globe in seconds with a click of a computer mouse.

An unidentified body in Tennessee is exhumed for DNA testingYahoo-based Cold Cases group was one of the first of these such "virtual" gathering places and out of it grew organisations such as the Doe Network, so called because John or Jane Doe is the name used by the FBI for the unidentified.

Over the past decade, an increasing number of websites devoted to particular cases of missing persons have been created. One of the first was my own for the Tent Girl.

There were more people coming online daily with missing pieces in their lives. Message boards intended for other uses were being used to post about missing persons and lost loved ones.
It was a night like a thousand nights before, when I found what I was looking for at last. I had found a posting by a woman looking for her sister last seen in Lexington, Kentucky. I read on.

The description was matching the description etched onto the Tent Girl's headstone. The feeling in my heart was greater than the evidence I was reading on the screen. A decade of burden was lifting away and I knew deep inside this was her at last.

Rules and methods

Tent Girl finally had a name. She was Barbara Taylor, a wife and mother when she died. By now, she would have been a grandmother.

It was one of the most profound and fulfilling moments in my life. And, I was soon to find, it would have a deep impact on others as well. Already the discovery of her remains in 1968 had led to the establishment of the Kentucky State Medical Examiners Office.

My colleagues and I get hundreds of e-mails a day from people searching for their missing loved ones Then, 30 years later, the discovery of her identity in 1998 led to the creation of a state-based website by the Kentucky Medical Examiners office, called

The websites work by gathering the information on missing and unidentified cases. A review process then begins. Researchers begin combing the web for any shred of missing information in the news media or public databases or websites.

Rules and methods have evolved to make the process work better. Data must be validated for accuracy by communicating with law enforcement authorities, and the Doe Network has a protocol which volunteers must follow to prevent them jeopardising cases or putting themselves in danger.

Case files are in a constant state of review and cross-referenced by members, law enforcement and the public.

The Doe Network alone has helped bring closure to 38 cases of missing or unidentified people.
They have also helped gather data to keep thousands of other similar cases in the public eye in the hope of resolution.


Often people involved in using the Internet to help resolve crimes are called amateur sleuths. I think the amateur effort is becoming an actual science. Those of us who seek the technology of the Internet, but not only the Internet, to find resolve in cold cases have found a niche that truly deserves a name. I suggest the term techni-criminologist after which I have named my website,

My colleagues and I get hundreds of e-mails a day from people searching for their missing loved ones. This is a new age where the ordinary man can step up and make a difference. It doesn't matter your sex, age, race or physical disability.

There are no boundaries to the level of involvement you choose to take - and for those cold cases that have been filed away by hard-pressed law enforcement, a Doe Network volunteer spending hours on a computer in their back room, may be the only chance of keeping a case alive.

Todd Matthews presents Internet Sleuths on Radio 4 on Tuesday 24 April at 1100BST then for 7 days at Radio 4's Listen again page.

Friday, April 20


Jessie Foster

We are having a fundraiser dinner at Jameson’s Irish Pub to help raise money to keep the search for Jessie going.

We will never stop our search for Jessie, we need to find her and bring her home.

The dinner will be held At Jameson’s Irish Pub
Address:3575 20th Ave N.E Calgary,on March 15th, 2007 at 5 pm

The tickets are 30 dollors each and are for sale right away
Contact:Sri Whorrall for more info or to purchace tickets.

We are looking for individuals and businesses that would be willing to donate gift certificates, items or services for our raffle draw.

All items are appreciated and gratefully accepted.

Thank You for your help Sri Whorrall can be reached also by phone at 1-403-282-2979.

DONATIONS are greatly appreciated & gratefully accepted at any branch of the CIBC Bank
(Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce), for the JESSICA FOSTER in TRUST FUND
TRANSIT #00050…ACCT #98-27412, to aid in the search for JESSIE,

Thank you, very much. Sincerely, Jessie’s family and friends.

Globe & Mail Newspaper:
Homepages: / /
Vancouver Province Newspaper (available on our website):
CFUN Talk Radio / Nik & Val Show: (there is a link from this site to our Missing Jessie page) Global TV: (this goes to where you can watch the news report from TV on video and to printable version) Las Vegas City Life:
Geraldo at Large: Project Jason:
Project Jason: Caroline Johnson: (a woman from Kamloops who made this video for us)Porchlight USA: Center for Missing Adults: Jessie's Missing Person Alert!: Las Vegas Sun: am Missing: (they list her in the index as Jodie Foster, but on the page as Jessie Foster)Highway of Tears: Online: Randi Swift:
Vancouver Province: Catch a Moment Video: Pieces: (then click on Archives, then scroll down to episode #22 and you can listen to the interview)Holly's Fight for Justice:
HOTT on the Trail: (mail page)HOTT on the Trail: (Glendene): (Find Jessie Foster):
MySpace: Mike on Crime Radio Show: (we have been on this show 3 times)Wikipedia:
Chris’s Crime Forum:
Chris’s Missing Canadian Children:
Crime & Justice:
Crime & Justice II:
Doe Network:
WI Catholic Musings:
Hazel8500 – Word Press:
Vancouver Missing Guest Book:
Charley Project:
Sex Trade Workers of Canada – Missing People:
The Missing Project (Brandi & Silvia):
Spiritual Relic:
Globe & Mail Newspaper:
Calgary Sun article: - TITLED: Woman missing a year
Kamloops This Week article: - TITLED: She vanished a year ago today
Kamloops Daily article: Mom Still Holds Out Hope For Daughter's Survival
Mike on Crime interviews: Mike on Crime

Thursday, April 19

Women gone but not forgotten

Spring campaign to look for missing sex-trade workers


April 19, 2007

Three city sex-trade workers - missing for three years - haven't been forgotten by a task force hunting for a serial killer and trying to prevent more deaths of people in high-risk lifestyles.

As early as next month, investigators from the Project KARE task force, RCMP officers and search and rescue volunteers will launch a spring campaign specifically aimed at finding Corrie Ottenbreit, Maggie-Lee Burke and Delores Dawn Brower, said KARE team commander Staff Sgt. Kevin Simmill.

"We're trying to bring this to the attention of the public that they haven't been forgotten about," said Simmill, who recently took over as head of the RCMP-led task force. Police have been looking for the three sex-trade workers with no success.

"Because of the length of time (they've been missing), we believe foul play is involved," Simmill said.

Kate Quinn of the Prostitution Awareness and Action Foundation of Edmonton commends KARE for its "proactive" approach.

"There are still three families wondering where their daughters are," said Quinn.

"They're all hoping they'll be found alive but if they are dead, the families would want their remains back so they can be laid to rest and the families can begin to rebuild their lives."

Burke was last seen on Dec. 9, 2004 by somebody near where she was living in the 118 Avenue area.

The 21-year-old is aboriginal, five-foot-seven and weighs 120 pounds. She has brown eyes, and her brown hair was peppered with red streaks at the time of her disappearance.

She was wearing black sneakers, blue jeans and a black bomber jacket. She wore black glasses and a diamond nose ring on the left side. Burke also went by the street name 'Angel.'

Ottenbreit was last seen May 9, 2004 in Edmonton. The 27-year-old white woman is five-foot-six and weighs about 120 pounds. She has blue eyes and red hair which was dyed blond when she was last seen, police said.

Brower is a 33-year-old Metis woman with long brown hair and brown eyes. She stands five-foot-three and weighs about 110 pounds. She was last seen on 118 Avenue and 70 Street by officers with Project KARE at 5:40 a.m. on May 13, 2004.

Police said she was hitch-hiking and trying to go west on the avenue.

The petite woman was wearing a black sweater and black jeans. She wore her hair long and has scarring on her left and right forearms. Brower is also known as 'Spider.'

Investigators have been checking computer data bases, including use of health care or other social services programs, on a regular basis in an effort to find the women, he said.

Simmill can't yet say where investigators will begin their spring search for the three women.

The bodies of several prostitutes have been found in past years dumped in an area south of Fort Saskatchewan.

Sunday, April 15

Families bond in search for relatives

By Warren Goulding

A two decade long search for a mother who disappeared from her life more than 40 years ago has, despite its frustrations, provided its share of blessings for Lori Whiteman.

Well educated, confident and secure within a circle of loving family and friends, Whiteman has undertaken the search for her mother, Delores Whiteman, with quiet determination. And while she has uncovered scant details about the life of a woman who began her journey on Standing Buffalo Dakota First Nation in the late 1940s before vanishing sometime in the late 1970s or early ‘80s, Whiteman’s relentless pursuit has broadened her perspectives and brought her greater understanding of her Dakota and Saulteaux heritage.

I don’t mean this to sound harsh, and I love my relatives and know that many of them are concerned about her whereabouts,” says Whiteman who was adopted into an Eastern European immigrant family when she was three.

But I have wondered if it wasn’t for me coming back to reconnect with my birth family, that it’s unlikely anyone would have ever really searched for her at all.”

That comment isn’t intended as an indictment of her family, but rather an analysis of a condition that has undermined Aboriginal families, one that too often has led to their portrayal as dysfunctional and uncaring.

I understand this to be what it is; it’s not about family not caring,” Whiteman explains. “It’s about what has happened to us as Indian people.

That strong circle of Relationship was eroded and this is just one of the legacies of our colonization as Indian people. It’s also why I feel so strongly about speaking out about it because it raises awareness and I hope that through public consciousness we can start to really examine how many of our people have been allowed to wander away and no one has noticed.”

Whiteman has connected with many other individuals and families who have endured the pain of losing a loved one and not know what became of them. For various reasons, many families have been unable to even initiate a search.

This translates into lack of caring, but when we are in the midst of our own survival and healing I understand how hard it is to look up and notice what is happening to those around us,” she says.

I think that is part of what happened in our family.”

Whiteman says she has made thousands of phone calls, searched the Internet and visited various places where it is believed Delores Whiteman may have lived. Since she was adopted, Whiteman met the frustration of being told by officialdom that she had no right to information since she was no longer “legally her child.”

In 1995, the chief of her band, the late Mel Isnana, agreed to file a missing person report on Whiteman’s behalf. That and other contacts by Whiteman led to police in Edmonton and Vancouver being aware of her search. However, it yielded no useful activity, although the RCMP did take a DNA sample from Whiteman when they were in the early stages of investigating the infamous Port Coquitlam, B.C. pig farm of alleged serial killer Robert ‘Willie’ Pickton.

At times, Lori Whiteman is unable to contain the frustration she feels towards the establishment, including police agencies that have been ineffective and seemingly indifferent. It’s a common theme expressed by the families of missing Aboriginal women.

The police have done what they can; this is what they tell me,” she says. “They have, unwittingly, been harsh and lacking in sensitivity at times. There is information that hasn’t made sense to me, and times when the police have been vague to the point where I was unsure what things were actually done and not done.

There are other incongruences in my dealings with police, and that has contributed to my frustration and isolated feelings and to the erosion of my trust in the police in working toward dealing with Aboriginal people, especially women,” says Whiteman.

The blessings, or at least reasons to find comfort in what are tragic circumstances, are to be found close to home for Whiteman.

My family has become my “team”. My kids have always been aware of my mother as a missing person. My husband is a huge support, spiritually and emotionally. He understands and supports me. In the later years of her life, my adoptive mother was a huge supporter, and it was an incredibly moving experience to be her primary care-giver in the last year of her life and to be by her side when she passed away a few years ago,” she explains.

In recent years, Whiteman has connected with people like Gwenda Yuzicappi whose 19-year-old daughter, Amber Redman, disappeared almost two years ago. Amber was last seen in Fort Qu’Appelle on July 15, 2005.

When Amber Redman vanished, I connected because I knew the family. Amber was a student of mine when I first started teaching on the reserve. I knew Gwenda. Over the course of the months that followed, Gwenda and I began to talk, and it was Gwenda who I began to share my own story with because I knew the loss she was feeling, and the pain connected us on a few levels – that we were from same community, and that I also was feeling loss and wondering about where my mother was,” Whiteman says.

She has been my greatest supporter in helping me to find the strength to share my own story, because all along I carried it silently on my own. I didn’t even realize how I had isolated myself. I had allowed the police and society and my own family’s silence about the disappearance of Delores Whiteman, to lead to my belief that, one, it was something that I was blowing out of proportion. After all, she was an Indian woman who lived on the streets and used alcohol/drugs, had a child taken away, etc. etc. or that I had no right to compare this missing woman on the same level as other missing people who were legitimately – read: not affected by the above things – missing.”

Over time, Whiteman has forged a bond with some of the families of the more than 60 women who are believed to be missing from the streets of Vancouver’s notorious Downtown Eastside. It is feared that many of them have been murdered by Robert Pickton who is currently on trial for the murder of six women and is expected to eventually stand trial for murdering at least another 15. About half of the women who have disappeared from the Downtown Eastside are Aboriginal.

I really connected with the stories of the families of the women from Vancouver who were also struggling with validating the lives of their loved ones,” explains Whiteman. “The only difference was that I had no dates of disappearance, no photographs, no real memories of her … I have had to really dig emotionally and spiritually to remind myself the reason why I continue to search, and the reason why I want the world to know about this.

Over the years the reason has changed. At first, I just wanted to selfishly find her. Now, it has evolved into a much deeper need to share a story of how we have been tricked into being our own oppressors, in a way. The way we have silenced ourselves, and the way that our marginalization and oppression have convinced us to be quiet, not to rock the boat, and not to demand justice even when there is obviously something wrong,” Whiteman says.

I’ve been a quiet member of the Vancouver Missing women’s support group online for a long time. I’ve kept up to date on what has happened there, and elsewhere.”

Through it all, confronted by indifferent cops, banging into bureaucratic walls and searching for a trail that has become colder with each passing year, Lori Whiteman has seen her own spirituality grow, connected inexorably with the knowledge that the life of Delores Whiteman must be acknowledged and honoured.

I’ve also learned, from a cultural perspective about what happens to people when they pass onto the Spirit world, and I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to seeing that my mother has the opportunity to have songs sung for her and feasts made for her so she can go find peace among her ancestors.”

Eagle Feather News


Pray hard’, families told

Warren Goulding

Mom won't give up hope for daughter

April 15, 2007

CALGARY -- A year after a young Calgary woman mysteriously vanished in Sin City, her mother is hoping that spotlighting the disappearance on a U.S. talk show will bring her daughter home.

Glendene Grant is flying to New York City on Tuesday to tape an episode of the Montel Williams Show about women who get lured into the sex trade and wind up missing.

Jessica Foster, 21, disappeared in March 2006 after travelling to Las Vegas, where she wound up working as a prostitute and was, at one point, beaten so badly she was hospitalized.

Grant yesterday said her daughter's case needs major television exposure to be solved, pointing to the media frenzy surrounding the disappearances of Laci Peterson and Elizabeth Smart.

"I need Jessie to be that recognized, I don't believe she deserves any less," she said, adding the episode is expected to air in a few weeks.

"I still think she's alive and I think she's out there and needs to be found."

Frustrated with the authorities, Grant and ex-husband Dwight Foster hired a private investigator who found out the young woman, once a straight-A student, had travelled to the U.S. with a man she met at a reggae party who promised to pay for her trip.

Meanwhile, family and friends in Calgary are hosting a fundraiser tonight to collect donations for the family's ongoing investigation.

Foster said the money will help offset the cost of the private investigator and be used as a reward for information to encourage people to open up about his daughter's disappearance.

"We've tried appealing from a moral perspective ... and it just seems to me that you're going to have to dangle a carrot for certain people to come forward," he said about those who work in Las Vegas' seedy underbelly.

"It's the dark side of humanity that we're appealing to - money motivates these people," Foster said.

Have you seen this woman?

Montel Williams Show

Saturday, April 7

Form and function - Highway of Tears

By Teresa Mallam
Free Press
April 6, 2007

Lena Trombley gives two reasons for why she got into the unusual business of making decorative and functional art from antlers.

“I really like working with tools and I grew up with five brothers.”
Trombley uses the antlers from elk, deer and moose and transforms them into beautiful pieces of unique jewelry and other fashion items. She first uses a band saw to cut the pieces into rings (like calamari) and then finishes them using a belt sander. The process can take time but crafting new and unique pieces is always a good challenge, she says.

“The pieces are drilled, drawn and dipped in poly resin to give them a hard finish and also to preserve them. Antlers naturally age, so you have to prevent them from doing that.”

She also fashions wish makers from antlers.

“I use three feathers with a peacock feather in the centre to represent the three main wishes in life: family, health and money. The outer feathers are dyed goose or ostrich feathers. I did special ones for the Highway of Tears events that have crystals of hope and crystals of sorrow.”

Trombley has lived in Prince George for 14 years and she has good reason for continuing to look for creative ways to work with antlers. Her health could depend on it.

“I have a bad heart and when I start stressing out about something, I just go to work on my antlers making things, and it calms me right down. I always feel so much better afterwards.”

Her inventory of finished pieces includes belt buckles with motifs of cougars, deer, bear and other animals and anklets, bracelets, pendants, magnets and even key chains all made from antlers. She adds beautiful touches like raw jade from around B.C. and other ornamentation like gemstones, beads and crystals.

The artist’s husband who does wood burning is probably her number one fan, she said.

“I love building things with my hands. I’m lucky to have a husband who has always encouraged me in what I do.”

Prince George Free Press

Pickton trial rough on relative

By News Reporter
April 6, 2007

Editor’s Note: Some details in the following story might be too graphic for some readers.

Greg Garley isn’t surprised the trial of Robert Pickton has fallen off the media radar. He only wishes he could drop it off his own.

The Craig Bay resident is the foster brother of Mona Wilson, one of the women whose body was found in a freezer at the Pickton pig farm in Port Coquitlam.

“I think it’s so graphic and disgusting people have to block it out,” he said. “It’s human nature for people to turn away from that sort of thing.”

Garley says he attended the first few weeks of the trial, but has had to take a break for his own peace of mind. The anger and disgust he feels for whoever raped, murdered and then butchered his adopted sister comes through in his voice and in his eyes.

“It’s Jeffrey Dahmer and Clifford Olson all rolled into one,” he said. “It makes them look like amateurs. My sister’s head was found sliced in two. [The perpetrator] didn’t just decapitate them, he sliced their heads in half ... desecrated their bodies ... reduced them down to a butchered carcass.”

The allegations against Pickton have not been proven in court.

Garley’s anger isn’t just directed at the person accused of killing Wilson. He’s also bitter about some of the people associated with him.

“I find it so hard to believe that so many people heard stories about dead women hanging from meat hooks, but nobody did anything,” he said.
“What dark corner of hell did these people come out of? If I saw something like that I would run screaming from the barn straight to the nearest pay phone and call the police. Anybody would.
These people admitted to what they saw, so why didn’t they do something at the time?

Garley says he plans to attend more of the trial, but he needs some space to recover from what he’s already heard.

“It’s just so gruesome,” he said. “At the trial I heard some of the things the police didn’t tell us ... absolutely sick details. I’ll go back though, at some point.”

The News

Friday, April 6

Coming soon to your area

April 6, 2007

David Long feels badly for the people of Westmount.

When told that his neighbours to the west fear that their streets will become the city's next prostitution stroll, Long lets out a low, rueful chuckle of recognition.

After all, he's endured 15 years of the same anger, frustration and moral outrage. When he and his family came to Alberta Avenue in the 1980s, it was a funky, ethnically diverse neighbourhood with plenty of Italian restaurants, Portuguese bakeries and Balkan butcher shops.

Then, he says, city hall and the police cracked down on drugs and prostitution in Boyle-McCauley. The dealers, pimps, johns and prostitutes simply moved north into his neighbourhood, sending it into a cancerous decline of boarded-up shops, shrinking property values and general decay.

Now that cleaning up Alberta Avenue has become one of the Edmonton Police Service's top priorities, it looks like history is repeating itself. Now residents in Westmount are complaining that prostitutes have started plying their trade on their residential streets.

"It's too bad for the people surrounding neighbourhoods," says Long. "I feel for them. I really do."

He says the present tactics, which simply drive the sex and drug trades from one area into another, simply aren't enough.

"We need a different approach to things," he says.

That's at least one thing Long has in common with the prostitutes who have played such a big role in making his life miserable for the last decade and a half. While they don't agree on what to do (Long says the solution is more cops making more arrests, while most prostitutes want a red light district away from residential neighbourhoods), they do agree that what's being done now isn't solving anything.

"They're just pushing the girls all over the city," says prostitute and occasional political activist Carol-Lynn Strachan, who blames the city's escort bylaw for making a bad situation much worse.

"Most of the girls who work the streets don't want to be out there," she says. "They'd rather be inside, working in massage parlours or at an escort agency. The girls don't want to be working in neighbourhoods. You think they actually want to be standing around on the streets?"

But in order to qualify for an escort licence from the city, Strachan says, they can't have any prostitution-related charges against them.

And when cops crack down on street prostitution, what happens? They arrest them and lay charges, she says. Now they can't go "inside" even if they want to, and continue to work the streets, putting themselves at risk and bleeding the life out of residential neighbourhoods.

"Even if I wanted to get a legit job, never mind working as an escort, it'd be almost impossible because I have a criminal record," says Melanie, a street prostitute who asked that her real name not be used.

"I'm not a victim," she says adamantly. "I like working, but of course I don't want to be out on a street corner. But what other options do I have under the current situation?"

This spring, Strachan will be in front of the Supreme Court as part of a charter challenge of the federal laws that affect prostitution.

The challenge is being led by York University law professor Alan Young.

As long as the cat-and-mouse approach continues, Melanie says, any neighbourhood in Edmonton could become the next prostitute stroll.

"Coming to a neighbourhood near you," Melanie says with a sarcastic chuckle, "real soon."

Sex Trade Workers of Canada

Thursday, April 5


Women of Canada making history

Welcome to our site about the history of women & girls in Canada.

Feature Story:
Vancouver's Memory March - Organizer Gwynne Hunt wanted to mark a new day dedicated to the recognition of all women murdered in Canada since 1989 On Saturday March 25, people came out to recognize the women and girls who've been killed by violence. So many women murdered - young and old; at home and on the street; of all races, classes and ethnicities. The living held each name, spoke each name, honoured those who died. The living bore witness to what is still happening in our communities each day.

Read full story:

Wednesday, April 4

A year ago, a young woman with a secret vanished in Las Vegas - Jessie Foster

'I get a strong feeling that ... she needs to be found and rescued'
A year ago, a young woman with a secret vanished in Las Vegas

Special to The Globe and Mail
April 4, 2007

Whenever Glendene Grant needs to hear her daughter's voice, she goes to her laptop and calls up an audio file she made a year ago. In it is a recording taken from Jessie Foster's cellphone.

Only one word in the message is spoken by the young woman from Kamloops, who disappeared in Las Vegas on March 28, 2006, but it is all Ms. Grant has to connect her with her daughter's physical presence.

First, a messaging-service voice tells her, "You have reached the voicemail of. . . ." And she hears her girl say her name: "Jessica."

Then the messaging-service voice returns, telling her to "speak after the beep."

For weeks after Ms. Foster went missing, her mother and the rest of the family followed those instructions, leaving increasingly frantic messages that were never returned. Eventually, Ms. Grant, a 49-year-old Internet technician, decided to download her daughter's voicemail before it, too, disappeared.

"Now I only have to go over to the computer," she said. "That's when I feel obsessive, when I hear her voice two, three, four times in a row."

If Ms. Foster is still alive, she will turn 23 next month. The second oldest of four sisters, Ms. Foster, a straight-A student in high school, worked at Boston Pizza in Kamloops and later lived with her father in Calgary before starting what was supposed to be a short tour of the United States. Her mother said she had planned to go to college on her return.

Instead, she moved to Las Vegas in May, 2005, telling her family she had met a rich man, 39-year-old Peter Todd, and fallen in love.

"She told us she liked it there and wanted to stay, and that he was living off a trust fund. We had no reason not to believe her," said Ms. Grant, although she added that she was concerned her daughter would be residing in the U.S. illegally.

For 10 months, Ms. Foster would e-mail, call or text message her mother or sisters almost daily, telling them stories of the glamour of the casinos and of seeing stars like Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake sitting at the next table in restaurants.

Then, nothing.

After her daughter vanished, Ms. Grant and her former husband Dwight Foster, Ms. Foster's father, reported her missing to the North Las Vegas Police Department and the RCMP. And they hired a private detective who, after a short search, gave them the devastating news that their daughter had been known as "Taylor," and had been prostituting herself through a Las Vegas escort service.

Ms. Foster, they learned, had been arrested twice and her boyfriend was not from a rich family, but had gained his apparent wealth from unknown means. He had an ex-wife who had been arrested for prostitution herself, and Mr. Todd had been arrested for spousal abuse, the private detective said. This was confirmed by North Las Vegas police.

After Ms. Foster's disappearance, Mr. Todd was twice interviewed by police, and said she had moved out several days after her last call home, North Las Vegas police said. No evidence has been discovered to show that she had either left town or met a violent end, they said. Mr. Todd is not considered a suspect in the case, and now refuses to speak to the media.

Officer Tim Bedwell of the North Las Vegas police described the case as "the most investigated non-crime our department has ever taken on." He explained that their jurisdiction does not cover "the Strip," where the main casinos are located and where Ms. Foster worked, but the suburban outskirts of the city where she resided with Mr. Todd.

"There's been nothing new in this case for a very long time. It is fundamentally a cold case. This is a missing adult and we have no evidence of any criminal wrongdoing," he said. "It's very frustrating for her family. From a police department perspective, it is frustrating that we can't offer them any help or closure."

As the investigation continued, Ms. Grant said it became apparent to her that missing prostitutes do not warrant the same attention as other missing people in the eyes of the police and the news media. She said she has been disappointed by the Las Vegas police response, and that of the FBI, which became involved in Ms. Foster's case last August.

"You are not what you do," she said angrily. "It was like she was to blame for what happened to her."

Officer Bill Castle, spokesman for Las Vegas police's metropolitan division, which covers the casinos, said no statistics are kept on how many prostitutes go missing each year.

"It's not a statistical database we make -- based on their occupation," he said. "There is a significant number of people who go missing involuntarily because something bad has happened to those who deal in criminal activity, whether it be prostitution or drugs. That lifestyle places people in jeopardy."

The life-changing experience of having a missing child has thrust Ms. Grant into a kinship with the families of other missing people throughout North America. She stays in touch with those she has befriended, and trades information where possible. With her Internet skills, she has created an impressive website and online newsletter that she monitors daily. Her understanding employers let her work when she feels able.

When asked why she has turned the search for her daughter into a nearly full-time occupation, she broke down. Through sobs, she said: "I just can't see doing anything else for one of my babies. I brought her into this world and I'll be damned if someone's going to take her out of this world without me knowing what the hell happened.

"I look at it this way. If it wasn't for me every day spending all my moments looking for Jessie, I can honestly believe that nothing would be done on a daily basis. I feel that in the whole world I am the only person doing something every single day for over a year."

Mr. Foster, she said, has accepted that his daughter is dead and has moved on. Ms. Grant does not feel that way.

"From the second that her death is proven, I will have the rest of my life to mourn her. I am really, really, really close with my daughters, and I just think I would feel something in the depth of my heart if she was dead. I think she is being kept against her will," she said. "I get a strong feeling that she needs to be found and rescued."
Jessie Foster
Searching for missing Jessie Foster - Las Vegas

© Copyright 2007 CTVglobemedia Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved.

A shoulder to lean on

April 4, 2007

A support group for families of murder victims hopes to let more people living with the anguish of losing a loved one to homicide know they're not alone.

Victims of Homicide Support Society has been active in Edmonton for about 12 years but recently revamped its website to increase its profile as the city deals with record-setting homicide rates.

"Until you've gone through it there's no way anyone can empathize," said society vice-president Paul Duiker, whose brother Donald Duiker was slain three years ago.

"There's a lot of regret, a lot of guilt and a lot of unbelievable anger."

Duiker says a core group of about 12 to 20 people attend the group's monthly support meetings.
The group believes it's only attracting about a quarter of Edmontonians whose family members have been slain.

"We've had so many murders and we still feel we're not reaching all of the people who have been affected," said treasurer Martin Hattersley, whose daughter Cathy Greeve was slain in an LRT station washroom in 1988.

Hattersley said the death of a loved one in a homicide is a unique experience, "partly because of the criminal aspect and all the court stuff, and just the general nastiness.

"I think for a lot of our folks (the group) is a lifeline, a place where you can really let your emotions out."

Some group members are relatives of victims whose murders remain unsolved, said Duiker.
Kathy King, whose daughter Cara King's slaying is among the unsolved homicides being investigated by the police task force Project KARE, is a member at large.

Edmonton's record-breaking pace of 39 homicides in 2005 was nearly matched in 2006, with 36 more added to police books.

Prior to that, the most murderous years were 1992 and 2004, when 28 homicides were
committed in the city. Victims of Homicide's new website is at

Monday, April 2

Sex-Trade workers brace for the possiblity of more bodies being found

Fearful of spring finds

Sex-Trade workers brace for the possibility of more bodies being found

April 2, 2007

It's been close to a year since the body of a murdered sex-trade worker was discovered in the Edmonton area, but experts say that only means a serial killer may be operating somewhere else.

Or, with the snow melting away, it may just be a matter of time before someone makes a grisly new discovery, sex-trade workers fear.

"For most people spring means the snow melting away and the grass getting green and the daisies coming up," said one sex-trade worker who didn't want to be identified.

"For us, it's a very hard time. It's like, 'Who are we going to find?' "

Project Kare, an RCMP-led task force, is hunting for a serial killer preying on sex-trade workers in the Edmonton area. Since 1975, the bodies of 25 people, many of them prostitutes, have been found in the area around the city.

Police believe a serial killer is responsible for more than one death but not all.

The last victim found was Bonnie Lynn Jack, whose body was discovered in May 2006 near Township Road 542 and Range Road 225 south of Fort Saskatchewan.

It's an area that's become notorious as a dumping ground for murdered women.
"Boy, that's a long time," said Northeastern University serial killer expert Jack Levin.
Bill Pitt, a University of Alberta criminologist, said there could be more killers out there.

"Maybe there's two or three or four more out there responsible for more," said Pitt.

He pointed out that Thomas Svekla, a former mechanic charged with second-degree murder and interfering with a human body in the slayings of both Rachel Quinney and Theresa Innes, would only account for two bodies if he is convicted. "We're still looking for more killers," Pitt said.

Three women - Corrie Ottenbreit, Maggie Lee Burke and Delores Dawn Brower - remain missing.

Ottenbreit was last seen May 9, 2004, while Burke was last seen Dec. 9, 2004. Brower was last seen by cops on May 13, 2004.

Some observers believe the women may have left town and don't want to be found because they're trying to break free of possible addictions or the dangerous cycle of street life.

It's also entirely possible that, with law enforcement officials and civilians keeping a closer eye on the "dumping ground" east and north of Sherwood Park, our serial killer or killers may have changed methods, Pitt said.

Levin agreed.

"It's possible the individual or individuals have changed their M.O. and moved the bodies elsewhere," he said.

"Serial killers read newspapers. They get bored with the way they carry out their crimes, that the victims get found too easily, so they move to another way of getting rid of the bodies.

"I don't think we should assume a serial killer doesn't change his tactics."

A killer could also have found a new dumping ground for his victims, Levin added.

Svekla's double-murder trial starts next February.

Sunday, April 1

26 missing lives

In The Arms Of An Angel
By: Sarah McLachlan

Spend all your time waiting for that second chance
For the break that will make it ok
There's always some reason to feel not good enough
And it's hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction oh beautiful release
Memories seep from my veins
They may be empty and weightless and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight

In the arms of an Angel fly away from here
From this dark, cold hotel room, and the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of an Angel; may you find some comfort here

So tired of the straight line, and everywhere you turn
There's vultures and thieves at your back
The storm keeps on twisting, you keep on building the lies
That you make up for all that you lack
It don't make no difference, escaping one last time
It's easier to believe
In this sweet madness, oh this glorious sadness
That brings me to my knees

In the arms of an Angel far away from here
From this dark, cold hotel room, and the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie
In the arms of an Angel; may you find some comfort here

You be the editor

You be the editor

The Gazette
Sunday, April 01, 2007

Every day, editors at The Gazette make decisions on stories. Usually, they are run-of-the-mill decisions, but sometimes they can hugely affect readers' lives. Those decisions centre on ethics, taste and the thorny question of what a news story actually is. This week, we are giving readers a chance to try their hand at making these decisions. We're describing 10 situations and asking you to decide what you would have done had you been the editor. All these questions are based on situations that have been, or could be, faced by editors.

Q1 A copy editor handling a story about the growing business empire of home-decor queen Debbie Travis writes this headline:

Debbie does real estate

It's a play on the title of a risque 1978 movie. As the page is about to go to press, a female copy editor suggested this headline was in poor taste. The night editor agreed and the headline was changed to Hot property/Buy Me bought.

Would you have:

- Changed the headline? It was in poor taste.

- Used the original? Get a life, editors, it was just a fun headline.

Q2 When the trial of B.C. pig farmer Robert Pickton started, it became clear that some of the details would be extremely gruesome. Gazette managers decided not to report much of the detail, considering it unnecessary. Some editors disagreed, arguing that readers need to know just what happened in the trial of a man who may be Canada's worst-ever serial killer.

Would you have

- Published the details? The public needs to know.

- Limited the details? We just don't need to know everything.

Q3 A letter to the editor reads like this: The Herouxville bylaws were meant to be a wakeup call for all of us. How much do we have to accommodate others and give up our own rights and values?

Where is this mea-culpa complex going to lead us? Once the Islamic minority becomes the majority - and that could be sooner than we think - we will all be wearing the hijab. That will be the end of us and our inferiority complex. We deserve that, but our children don't.

The letters editor knows that this letter will prompt responses from some ethnic readers accusing the letter writer of racism - and The Gazette of being racist for publishing it.

Should we:

- Publish the letter? It makes a point and is not racist.

- Not publish? It's important to respect the sensitivities of immigrants.

Q4 A story about work colleagues with toxic personalities quotes someone describing them as "assholes."

After much deliberation, the editor vetoes the word in the headline, but not the story.

Would you:

- Use the word in the headline? If it's in the story, why not?

- Agree with the editor and don't use it in the head. It acquires an unnecessary shock value in the headline that it doesn't have in the story.

Q5 A reporter attends a press conference called by a man claiming he was discriminated against when he was fired.

The worker's French was so poor even francophone reporters had trouble understanding him. So The Gazette reporter pulled him aside and did a separate interview in Spanish.

The reporter wanted to write that the man's French was weak and he spoke no English because she felt it was relevant as a possible lack of job qualifications. Her editor felt that we shouldn't embarrass him because we couldn't prove that weak language skills cost him the job.

The compromise was to mention that the interview was in Spanish.

Would you have:

- Mentioned his language deficiencies?

- Just pointed out that the interview was in Spanish?

Q6 A reporter is writing an obituary of a respected member of the community, who has a widow and three daughters. A man calls to say he is the son of the deceased as the result of an extramarital affair and wishes to be so identified in his father's obituary. Some checks convince the reporter that he is indeed the man's son, but all three daughters are adamantly against this being reported. The widow has no objection.

Do you:

- Include the illegitimate son in the story?

- Agree not to upset the daughters by leaving out the fact?

Q7 A reporter is covering a municipal court and hears a case involving a woman who is convicted of shoplifting. The case will merit only a very short story. As she leaves the court, the woman approaches the reporter and asks that her name not be reported. "My mother is very sick, and the shock of this could kill her is she finds out," the woman says.

The reporter verifies that the mother is, indeed, very ill. She consults her editor.

Would you:

- Use the story? If we agree not to publish names of convicts, the principle of an open court system is compromised.

- Suppress the story, or not name the woman? It's not a violent crime and the consequences could be out of proportion.


When deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was hanged, the event was recorded by cellphone. The images of the convicted dictator gallows-bound and then hanged hit the Internet almost immediately. Eventually, the images were distributed by various wire services to newspapers worldwide.

Like many paper's worldwide. The Gazette published the photos.

Would you have:

- Published the photos? It is major news, after all.

- Not published? Some readers will find them disturbing and barbaric.


When Stephen Harper decided to toss a football with Peter Mackay on the grounds of the Commons in spring of 2005 it was a photo-op even if it wasn't heralded by a press release. After a few passes, the future PM's shirt became untucked and a photo that showed he possessed a good throwing arm also showed he was of pretty good girth.

Would you:

- Publish the picture? It's not terribly flattering, but you can bet the event was staged to get the press out there, which means running the photo is fair game.

- Not publish? It's not fair to show someone, even a public figure, in such an unwittingly unflattering way.

Q10 (PHOTO, BOTTOM RIGHT) An advertisement for the movie Cashback is submitted to The Gazette for publication. It features a topless woman holding a grocery-store basket.

The Gazette publishes the picture with a black bar containing the film company's website, printed over the woman's breasts.

La Presse printed the ad as it was submitted.

Would you:

- Use the original picture? This is the 21st century, you guys should lighten up.

- Use the covered-up picture? Images like that do not belong in a general-interest newspaper.

© The Gazette (Montreal) 2007