Friday, June 25

Teri-Lyn remembered

Teri-Lyn remembered

teri-lyn williams_1
The man in the white van pulled up while Merle Goertz was repairing the small memorial near the place where police found Teri-Lyn Williams.
Someone had removed Teri-Lyn’s photo from the small cross Goertz made and taken some of the potted daffodils he left on on the north side of 104A Avenue off Whalley Boulevard.
The van driver said he was the passerby who called police about someone lying in the bushes early in the morning of June 9.
“Was there blood?” Goertz asked, hesitantly.
“I couldn’t see any,” the man in the van said.
“But I didn’t go in [for a close look]. She was lying on her back. It looked like she was sleeping.”
Goertz thanked him and explained that he used to know Teri-Lyn.
It had been 12 years since he’d seen or heard from her.
He was shocked by her haggard appearance in a police-issued photo released shortly after her murder.
“That’s not how I remember her,” Goertz said.
“She was the most beautiful, sweet, charming girl.”
They met more than 20 years ago in Edmonton.
She was 19, working as an exotic dancer at a club where Goertz was friends with two other dancers.
He was outside having a cigarette when she walked by, smiled a brilliant smile and said hi.
They were friends for about a year-and-a-half before the relationship became romantic.
She told him about being a street prostitute and drug abuser before he met her.
A pimp inflicted the scar that ran along the right side of her jaw.
She was an adopted child who knew nothing about her birth parents except that one of them was likely dark-skinned.
Her birth mother was probably drinking through the pregnancy because Teri-Lyn had all the symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome, Goertz said.
But she seemed to have overcome her troubled past.
She was a superbly fit amateur bodybuilder and a hard worker who ran her own one-woman cleaning company.
Still, there were ups and downs.
Without warning, Teri-Lyn’s moods could suddenly shift from warm and loving into a wild anger at everything, even the man she loved.
The relationship with Goertz ended badly, with harsh words and hurt feelings, but Goertz never moved out of the building they shared in Vancouver’s West End. Part of him, he said, always hoped that she would come back.
merle goertz
Goertz now knows that Teri-Lyn returned to Alberta, where she built a life with another supportive friend, Calgary resident Dan Swainston.
In a telephone interview with The Leader, Swainston said he never crossed the line from a friendship to a romantic relationship with Teri-Lyn.
He remembers her as a warm, hardworking woman who could be moody, but otherwise was doing fine.
But when she turned 40, Teri-Lyn started to fall apart, Swainston said.
She walked away from her business, drifting into debt and back into drug use and street prostitution.
A grieving Swainston said he did everything he could to help, but it wasn’t enough.
“I could always pull a rabbit out of the hat for her [with loans of money and other assistance], but not this time.”
The last time he heard from her was June 2, when she phoned asking for money to help with her rent.
Swainston didn’t have the money to give, and she got angry.
Swainston said he was “devastated” to learn about her murder and he wants people to know that his friend was more than a mere street prostitute.
“She wasn’t a nobody.”
Her adoptive father, Edmonton resident Mel Williams, suspected his daughter’s emotional problems were the result of drug or alcohol abuse by her birth mother, who a social worker told him was a hooker on Edmonton’s infamous stroll.
Williams feared for Teri-Lyn’s life after learning she had gone back to the street.
“Unfortunately, I’d been kind of expecting something like this ...but nothing prepares you.”
He prefers to remember the often-happy child who did cartwheels down the halls of her home and would ask her father to sing “Delta Dawn” all the time.
“It was her song” he said.
The other day, he heard it playing.
It was the part about “she’s 41 and her daddy still calls her baby,” and it hurt to hear it.
Anyone with information about Teri-Lyn’s movements before her death is asked to call the IHIT TIP Line at 1-877-551-IHIT or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
By Dan Ferguson - Surrey North Delta Leader
Published: June 25, 2010 6:00 AM
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Friday, June 18

Sex-trade worker found slain in B.C. identified as Calgarian

Teri-Lyn Williams travelled between Alberta, B.C.

By Sherri Zickefoose, Calgary Herald; with files from Canwest News Service
June 17, 2010
teri-lyn williams_1 The discovery of a slain Calgary woman in Surrey, B.C., has ended a painful saga for an Alberta family who say they expected the worst from her risky lifestyle.

Teri-Lyn Williams -- a 41-year-old sex-trade worker who travelled back and forth between Alberta and British Columbia, was identified Wednesday.

"I've been expecting a call like this for the last 10 years, unfortunately," said Mel Williams, who adopted Teri-Lyn as a newborn and raised her in Edmonton.

"She was living that lifestyle and the worst did happen. But regardless of what she was doing, she didn't deserve to be murdered."

Williams, who had a residence in Calgary but frequented Vancouver, was also known as Toni.
She left her Calgary home in mid-April, according to police.

Her body was found by passersby in bushes last Wednesday morning. Police have said the woman may have been killed Tuesday night or early Wednesday.

Police have given no indication of how she died. No identification was found with her body; however, Williams was wearing a key attached by an elastic hair tie around her wrist.

It is not known whether she was "applying her trade in the Surrey central area," said Cpl. Dale Carr of the integrated homicide investigative team.

Detectives from B.C.'s homicide team touched down in Calgary on Wednesday to track Williams' last known movements.

"We need a starting point. We know her name, but we don't know who she is," said Carr.

"They're going to spend a day or two to try to shed light on why was she out there, where did she live and did she know anybody in Surrey," said Carr.

He said investigators are planning to locate and interview a number of people, including a former boyfriend.

Prior to the killing, she was known to have been in Vancouver on Nov. 9, 2009, police said.

Police have a record of her being in Calgary on Dec. 15, 2009.

Williams' father said the family long suspected his daughter's erratic behaviour may have been caused by fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

"From all indications, her biological mother was living a rough lifestyle as well," he said.

For the past decade, Williams had been living in Calgary but was estranged from most of her family, who are Edmonton-based. She kept in touch with an aunt through regular telephone calls, her father said.

"She was a problem child, but also a happy-go-lucky. Teri was a good kid. But things kind of fell apart when she was around 19 when she fell in with the wrong crowd, and the dope was a big part of it," said Williams, 67.

"I knew she was in B.C. quite a bit. The last time I saw her in Vancouver, she was doing really great, looking healthy. We took her out for dinner."

Through his grief, Williams said he wants his daughter's unsolved slaying to act as a warning to others about addiction and high-risk lifestyles.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

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Tuesday, June 15

Valleyview students get 'reality check' on human trafficking

By Jeremy Deutsch - Kamloops This Week
Published: June 15, 2010 12:00 PM

human trafficking Their eyes are fixated on the video screen a few feet away.

The teens are told about human slavery and how it’s being carried out in foreign lands.

The students are reminded they can call organizations like Crime Stoppers if they see it — or if they get caught up in it themselves.

A group of Grade 11 social studies students at Valleyview secondary are getting an education on the growing problem of human trafficking.

But the 45-minute presentation doesn’t really hit home until Glendene Grant steps to the front of the class.

She introduces herself as the mother of Jessie Foster, the Kamloops resident who has been missing for more than four years in one of the most well-known cases of suspected human trafficking.

Grant sets up a video montage that tells Jessie’s story, set to photos of the beautiful girl.

Many of the pictures were taken when Jessie was the same age as the teens sitting at their desks.

It’s all a little too much for Avelyn Hall.

“It makes it so much more real,” the 17-year-old student said, with tears in her eyes.

Avelyn has seen the posters of Foster while riding on Greyhound buses over the years and never thought she’d meet the missing woman’s mom.

“I could see the pain,” she said.

Though Avelyn doesn’t believe she could become a victim herself of human trafficking, she said some of her peers may find their way into more trouble.

She said many of her fellow students just don’t have respect for themselves — and Grant’s story could help open their eyes.

Grant, Mark Price from the Kamloops and District Crime Stoppers Society and Deb Noel from the Catholic Women’s League, are making presentations at local high schools.

The trio touches on two aspects of modern-day slavery — trafficking into the sex trade and slave labour in the global trade market.

Valleyview was the second presentation for the group.

Braden McCarthy, another Grade 11 student, called the presentation “really disturbing.”

He didn’t realize to what extent the problem of human trafficking had grown.

Braden noted students in his class were moved to tears from the presentation.

It’s exactly the reaction Grant was hoping to get.

“I can see them and feel their eyes on the videos,” she said.

“In a way, it’s a good reality check.”

While it may be hard to keep a teen’s attention for a long period of time, Grant is sure the kids are taking something from her story.

The mother of four said she’s been inundated with calls from throughout the school district, the province and country from educators inquiring about the presentation.

Grant said the group will continue to do as many presentations as they can, adding she’s working on a way to offer the lecture online.

© Copyright . All rights reserved.
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Are the feds foot-dragging on fund for murdered women? asks Crey

Published: June 15, 2010 9:00 AM
ernie_crey It's been six months and still no word.

Chilliwack resident Ernie Crey is asking when the federal government will announce specific plans for the $10 million fund set aside to address the issue of murdered and missing women.

Ernie's sister, Dawn Crey, a member of the Cheam First Nation, vanished from the streets of Vancouver's downtown eastside in the fall of 2000. Her DNA was found by police in 2004 during their investigation of a property owned by the family of convicted killer, Robert 'Willie' Pickton.

"Although I was unsure about how the government intended to use the money, I was pleased they set aside the funds to address the issue of murdered and missing women," Crey said.

"Given that six months have gone by since the federal government announced the $10 million, I am not convinced they have come up with a plan yet."

Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl was out of the country and not available for comment said INAC press secretary Michelle Yao.

"But I can tell you that our government is committed to ensuring that all women in Canada, including Aboriginal women, are safe and secure regardless of the community in which they live," she wrote in an e-mailed statement to the Progress.

In terms of the $10 million investment announced in the 2010 federal budget, Yao said the government "continues to work in partnership with provincial and territorial governments, Aboriginal people, and other stakeholders to develop more effective and appropriate solutions and to establish collaborative responses to this pressing matter, including improved police investigations.

"I want to reinforce that concrete actions will be taken to ensure that law enforcement and the justice system meet the needs of Aboriginal women and their families."

But the delay is unacceptable, said Crey.

"This is disheartening for the families of the murdered and missing women across Canada because there are so many worthy women’s organizations in desperate need of resources to continue their good work with vulnerable woman like my sister Dawn," said Crey.

People are growing impatient with "the foot dragging and apparent secrecy" surrounding the fund, and Crey hopes they'll be announcing a plan shortly.

"I can’t stop thinking about my sister and wonder if one day someone will be charged in connection with her death," Crey wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Steven Harper. "My brothers and sisters seldom speak about Dawn because they are deeply troubled about her final days and the circumstances under which she disappeared. Eventually, I may just have to accept the fact that Dawn is gone and that no one will ever be held accountable for her disappearance. In the meantime, I await the results of an on-going police investigation."

He gives the feds the benefit of the doubt to some extent in his letter.

"It may be that the $10 million is already in play, going to worthy organizations working on behalf of vulnerable women like my sister Dawn. If the money is being put to good use, I think your government should simply explain how the fund is managed and publicize the names of the organizations receiving support."
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