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Wednesday, February 13
'Where's the empathy?' asks family of murdered Marnie Frey
Posted: Feb 13, 2013 5:24 PM PT
The parents of a victim of serial killer Robert Pickton is accusing the BC Coroners Service of mishandling their daughter's remains and lying about it for years, CBC News has learned.
Marnie Frey was one of the six women Pickton was convicted of murdering on his suburban Vancouver pig farm. His 2007 trial had been told he killed the 24-year-old heroin addict and sex-trade worker in 1997.
A section of Frey’s jawbone was the only part of her body recovered from the farm.
Her parents were told the bone was cremated, even though it is a violation of the Funeral Services Act to take such action without permission of the family.
'The regulations were not followed at any stage of the game.'—Chris Dorrington, funeral director
“My daughter went through enough,” said her father, Rick Frey. “Our daughter's remains were not handled with any kind of dignity.”
But the family was in for another shock. In 2010, when they took what they believed were Frey’s ashes to a funeral home, the parents were told that what they had retrieved from the coroners service was crushed human bone.
Funeral director Chris Dorrington examined the contents.
“There were what appeared to be bone fragments. They did not appear to be cremated,” Dorrington told CBC News. “It looked like they had been hit with a hammer or some crude method so that they would be able to be placed into that [urn].”
Lynn and Rick Frey say they've been repeatedly lied to by the BC Coroners Service. (CBC)
Dorrington said that offering an indignity to a human body is an offence under section 182 of the Criminal Code.
But the coroner still insisted Frey’s remains had been cremated, the family said.
A forensic anthropologist who examined the jawbone fragments for Pickton's trial confirmed they had not been through the cremation process.
“This put the icing on the cake,” Rick Frey said. “It bothers me to think that my daughter was put on the table and maybe banged around with a hammer.”
'Just dumped into the urn'
Frey’s stepmother, Lynn Frey, said they were shocked to get the news.
“She was just dumped into the urn with her bones. Where's the empathy there?”
Part of Marnie Frey's jawbone was found on Pickton's Port Coquitlam, B.C., farm. (CBC)
Dorrington said the coroners service’s actions were a series of missteps.
“The regulations were not followed at any stage of the game,” he said.
Rick Frey said the family only recently received the documents needed to bury the remains legally.
“I am not going to go and have her buried, or whatever, until I have the answers,” he said.
Funeral director Sandy Poelvoorde agrees.
“We need to answer these questions for this family,” Poelvoorde said. “They've been through so much, and to constantly be put through the bureaucracy for no other reason that I can see is just cruel.”
The BC Coroners Service has declined to comment on the Frey family's allegations while an investigation by the B.C. Consumer Protection Branch is underway.
With files from the CBC's Natalie Clancy
Human Rights Watch also alleges native girls and women were abused by police
BY LORI CULBERT WITH TIFFANY CRAWFORD, VANCOUVER SUN FEBRUARY 13, 2013 9:50 AM
Meghan Rhoad, women's rights researcher at Human Rights Watch speaks during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 13, 2013. The press conference was regarding the release of her report titled "Those Who Take Us Away: Abusive Policing and Failures in Protection of Indigenous Women and Girls in Northern British Columbia, Canada."
Photograph by: Sean Kilpatrick, THE CANADIAN PRESS
The RCMP says it takes the allegations in a report from the Human Rights Watch that claims Mounties are failing to protect native women and girls in northern B.C "very seriously."
The document, released Tuesday, also contained unproven allegations by some women and girls who say they were abused physically or sexually by police officers.
RCMP Chief Supt. Janice Armstrong issued a statement Wednesday, saying that Mounties were alerted to the allegations five months ago by Human Rights Watch, but that they were having trouble investigating the complaints.
She said none of the allegations has been reported to RCMP.
"It is impossible to deal with such public and serious complaints when we have no method to determine who the victims or the accused are," she said, in the statement.
Armstrong added that the RCMP will need more time to review the report in order to provide more information to the public.
"The RCMP takes the allegations enclosed in the Human Rights Watch Report very seriously," she said.
"The unimaginable loss and pain felt by families and loved ones of missing and murdered persons is also felt across our communities. The RCMP looks forward to working with our government and non-government partners, as well the communities we serve to provide Canadians with the professional and accountable police service they expect and deserve."
The report contains several recommendations for governments and police, including more safeguards to protect native women in the north and expanding the so-called Highway of Tears investigation.
"In ten towns across the north, Human Rights Watch documented RCMP violations of the rights of indigenous women and girls: young girls pepper-sprayed and Tasered; a 12-year-old girl attacked by a police dog; a 17-year-old punched repeatedly by an officer who had been called to help her; women strip-searched by male officers; and women injured due to excessive force used during arrest," the report says.
Human Rights Watch - an international organization dedicated to protecting human rights - says the allegations do not prove a "pattern of routine systematic abuse" by police, but are worrisome.
"While the testimonies that Human Rights Watch gathered do not establish the prevalence of abuse, they do, together with other studies, raise serious concerns about police practices, police
misconduct, and mistrust of police, all of which impact the safety of indigenous women and girls."
The report is titled Those Who Take Us Away, a translation of the word for police in the Carrier language.
Human Rights Watch said it interviewed 42 native women and six girls in 10 towns along Highway 16 between Prince Rupert and Prince George, and as far south as Williams Lake on Highway 97. Researchers also spoke to 30 community outreach workers and victims' relatives, and seven former and current RCMP officers "through unofficial channels."
The report said it was "an important first step" for the RCMP to create its E-Pana task force, which is investigating 18 cases of girls and women who disappeared from or were murdered along Highways 16, 97 and 5 in Northern B.C. between 1969 and 2006. But it also noted some people estimate the number of unsolved cases along northern B.C. highways total more than 40.
A Vancouver Sun investigation in 2009 uncovered 13 other victims who went missing or were murdered near a major roadway in B.C. or Alberta, who appear to be similar to the 18 on the official list and, in some cases, had been linked in the past to the "highway murders" by previous probes.
One of the recommendations in the new report suggests "changing the criteria for cases to be investigated by the E-Pana task force to include a greater number of the murders and disappearances of women in the north."
The report raised concerns, as well, that there could be even more cases of missing native women and girls that were initially "mishandled" by allegedly biased officers.
Also documented were alleged police abuse of eight girls and women including:
. A 17-year-old girl said she was repeatedly punched in the face while in the back seat of a police car in 2011; the report says the officer has now been charged with criminal assault.
. A 15-year-old girl's arm was allegedly broken when an RCMP officer tried to put her in handcuffs in the spring of 2012. "He grabbed my arm and pushed me up against the wall. He pulled my arm way back and pushed it so I was up on my tip toes," the girl is quoted as saying. The incident is under review by an external police agency, the report says.
. An alleged attack by a police dog on a 12-year-old girl, who was hiding from police in a box when the canine attacked her in 2012. "The dog was on top of her and started to attack her leg ... The photos show punctures from the dog's teeth," the girl's mother told researchers. This case is also under investigation by an external police agency. The report also detailed disturbing allegations of sexual abuse by police against several women and girls in the northern communities.
In addition, the researchers collected 15 reports from women who alleged they were physically abused in jail cells or on the street by police, ranging from being roughly handled to "an outright beating," the document says.
The document noted women are often too intimidated to lodge a complaint against police, especially if they live in a small town.
Despite the work of E-Pana and the release in 2012 of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry report, there is still a need for a national commission of inquiry to examine "police handling of violence against indigenous women and girls," Human Rights Watch says.
Other recommendations in the report include:
. A national plan to address violence against native women and girls, and the structural roots of the violence;
. More shelters and social services for victims of violence, including in rural areas.
. Expanded training for police officers to counter racism and sexism in the treatment of indigenous women and girls.
. Implementing the recommendations of the 2006 Highway of Tears Symposium.
The report can be read here.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Feb. 07 2013
Ottawa police have charged a man with killing two women amid fears that a predator has been targeting the city’s sex trade workers.
Marc Leduc, 56, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder on Thursday in the deaths of Pamela Kosmack and Leanne Lawson. DNA evidence played a role in the investigation, said Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau.
MORE RELATED TO THIS STORY
“This is an ongoing investigation. We’re not going to discuss any links between the cases,” he told reporters. “In terms of these two homicides we’re speaking about today, the link is the accused.”
Mr. Leduc, who is deaf, was arrested Wednesday while in custody for a sexual assault charge. He appeared in court on Thursday.
The arrests come more than a year after then-Ottawa police chief Vern White announced that investigators had discovered a “pattern” in the killings of prostitutes and warned those working in the trade to be vigilant.
Chief Bordeleau also warned sex workers to be careful on Thursday, but would not say whether police believe the two women’s deaths are connected with the homicides of four other women in Ottawa and one in nearby Gatineau, Que.
“We are actively looking at all our unsolved files,” he said.
Sergeant Rob Drummond acknowledged that investigators do not normally hold news conferences to announce charges.
“We know that there is a great amount of public interest in these homicide files and want to be as open as possible about this investigation,” he said.
The body of Ms. Kosmack, 39, was found near a bicycle path in the city’s west end on June 4, 2008. Ms. Lawson, 23, was found dead in a parking lot near the Byward Market on Sept. 2, 2011. Both had links to the sex trade, according to police.
According to his online footprint, Mr. Leduc is a handyman and cat lover who has an account on the dating website, Plenty of Fish, under the name: “evilmarky: im looking for you”. He said he was separated with adult children.
MORE RELATED TO THIS STORY
Wednesday, February 6
Suspect was in custody for November sex attack in west end
BY MEGHAN HURLEY, OTTAWA CITIZEN FEBRUARY 6, 2013 4:02 PM
Ottawa police at the scene in Lincoln Heights Park Wednesday where the body of Pamela Kosmack was discovered in 2008.
Photograph by: Ashley Fraser, Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA — A man arrested Wednesday in the unsolved homicides of two women was already in jail after a November sex attack in the city’s west end.
Marc Leduc, 56, faced several charges related to that incident including sexual assault, attempting to choke and uttering threats to cause bodily harm after he allegedly broke into a 19-year-old woman’s apartment at 2155 Elmira Dr.
Leduc, who goes by the name “evilmarky” online, was brought to the Elgin Street police station from the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre Wednesday. He was arrested in the 2008 death of Pamela Kosmack and the 2011 killing of sex trade worker Leeanne Lawson.
No charges have been laid at this time, sources say.
The arrest comes a little more than two years after then-Ottawa police chief Vern White issued an unprecedented public safety warning to women after investigators identified a “pattern” in some of the city’s unsolved killings of sex-trade workers.
Ottawa police have six unsolved homicides dating back 21 years.
Melinda Sheppit was 16 years old when her semi-nude body was found in a Murray Street parking lot on Sept. 30, 1990. She was strangled and was missing a shoe.
Sophie Filion, 23, was found wearing only a slip, bent at the waist and stuffed into two garbage bags in a parking lot in Westboro on Dec. 3, 1993. She died from strangulation.
Carrie Doloris Mancuso, 32, was killed by asphyxiation, but it’s unclear if she was strangled. Her body was discovered in August 1995 in her Lafontaine Avenue apartment.
Leeanne Lawson was found dead in September 2011 in a parking lot near King Edward Avenue. She was 23.
The sixth unsolved killing of a sex-trade worker was Jennifer Leigh Stewart, 36. She was found stabbed to death in the parking lot of an apartment building on Alice Street in August 2010, lying face up in the dirt.
More to come.
© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen
Monday, February 4
- Brent Davis and , Frances Barrick, Record staff
- Mon Feb 04 2013 22:46:00
KITCHENER — The flickering light from dozens of candles danced across a portrait of Kelsey Louise Felker as about 150 people gathered Monday night to remember the young slaying victim.
The large crowd braved bone-chilling temperatures as they stood in front of Kitchener City Hall, where candles and flowers surrounded the portrait on an outdoor stage.
“She had a kind soul and a beautiful smile,” said Lisa Cameron, who said she had known Felker for about nine years.
“She was very kind and caring,” Cameron said. “She would do anything for anybody.”
The 24-year-old’s dismembered torso was discovered Jan. 26 in a garbage bin behind 250 Frederick St. in Kitchener. Additional remains have since been located at two other Kitchener locations.
Last week, Stephen Roy Johnson, 37, of Kitchener was charged with first-degree murder and indignity to a body in connection with the killing.
The troubled young woman battled drug addiction but those gathered Monday night said Felker should be remembered for the lovable person she was.
“You couldn’t really help but like her,” said Dave Fisher, a taxi driver who frequently drove Felker around the city in recent months.
“You could tell she had some problems, but she was one of the most polite fares I ever got.”
Fisher said he worried about Felker, whom he described as an introspective girl with personality.
“I’d tell her ‘Kelsey, be careful,’” he said. “On the one hand, she was street-smart, but on the other, she was vulnerable.”
Birgit Lingenberg, who knew Felker from their common visits to the soup kitchen, remembered her as a nice girl.
“She was always smiling, and had a good heart,” she said. “The person who did this, I have to wonder if they’re human.”
Meanwhile, Waterloo Regional Police resumed their search Monday near Woodside National Historic Site for more remains.
Police said that forensic work to determine a cause of death continues in Hamilton.
On Thursday, police found additional body parts in a wooded area off River Road near the Chicopee area on Kitchener and took their search to a park area near Woodside.
Officers will also be returning to 250 Frederick St. to continue canvassing tenants as to whether they heard or saw anything connected to the killing.
Anyone with information can call police at 519-653-7700, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Friday, February 1
BY JENNIFER SALTMAN, THE PROVINCE FEBRUARY 1, 2013
Among the missing-person reports featured on the new canadasmissing.ca are those of (from left) Lindsey Nicholls, missing since 1993; Richard Ranger, missing since 1999; and Kimberley Ann Amero, missing since 1985.
Photograph by: Submitted, canadasmissing.ca
The RCMP has launched a new national website aimed at collecting tips and information about cases involving missing people and unidentified remains.
The website, canadasmissing.ca, is operated by the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains.
“This website gives the public a chance to make a difference in finding some of Canada’s missing. Each person who takes the time to visit canadasmissing.ca could help bring a loved one home to their family,” said Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews, in a news release.
Cases posted on the site are from across the country and the information is submitted by police officers, medical examiners or chief coroners. Cases may be added to the website at the request of primary investigators.
“Regardless of how old an investigation is or how insignificant a piece of information may seem, a member of the public may have the one key element needed to successfully solve a case,” the RCMP states.
All tips and information received through the website will be forwarded to the investigating agency.
© Copyright (c) The Province