Highway of Tears

Edmonton Serial Killer(s)

 

Highway of Tears

Justice for missing and murdered indigenous women  

   
   

Human rights delegation

PRINCE GEORGE - The first of 3 international delegations coming to Canada this year to investigate the treatment of First Nations people has been hearing harrowing tales about women who vanished along BC’s infamous Highway of Tears.  (Globe & Mail)   MORE:   Inter-American Commission on Human Rights  

   

Deceased US convict linked

   Police say the DNA of American convict Bobby Jack Fowler was found on the body of Colleen MacMillen, 16, who was killed nearly 40 years ago. MacMillen was last seen alive hitchhiking in 1974 along Highway 97 near Lac La Hache, BC, south of Prince George, on her way to see friends.  They also suspect Fowler may be responsible for at least two more of those cases - the deaths of Gale Weys and Pamela Darlington, both killed in 1973.  He has been ruled out as a suspect in 8 of the 18 cases, but remains a possible suspect in as many as 10 of the cases, said police.  (CBC)    E-PANA announce significant development   Cold case killings linked   Deceased US convict linked  

   

Justice ministers 'notice' missing women

VANCOUVER - Some of Canada's most vulnerable women have for decades disappeared or been found dead, and now the country's justice ministers admit it's an epidemic that hasn't received the attention it deserves.  After a meeting this week in Vancouver, federal, provincial and territorial ministers released a report with more than four dozen recommendations on how to protect women living high-risk lifestyles.  The ministers said the problem is about more than BC serial killer Robert Pickton, or convicted Albertan killer Thomas Svekla.  In fact, the issue is Canada-wide. (CP)   Missing women a national priority   Feds focus on missing native women   

   

Highway of Tears investigation

VANCOUVER - In their hunt to determine whether a serial killer is preying on girls and women along BC roadways, investigators have identified 2,000 “persons of interest” in the so-called Highway of Tears investigation.  Project E-Pana, the joint RCMP-Vancouver police unit probing missing and murdered women along BC highways, previously has been tight-lipped about the high-profile investigation.   (Vancouver Sun)    MORE:   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5   Vanishing point  

   

Clearance rate

A report released by the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) said more than 580 aboriginal girls and women have been murdered or disappeared in the past several decades. Although the numbers are even higher for aboriginal men, the report is meant to highlight the unique tragedies faced by aboriginal women.  Nationally, police solve 84% of homicides against non-aboriginal women, but that rate drops to 53% for homicides involving aboriginal women, the report says. In provinces such as Alberta, the "clearance" rate is less than 50%.  Saskatchewan tops the list, with a 78% rate.     

Updated list

Police link 9 new cases to 'Highway of Tears'  

Call for RCMP action on Highway of Tears 

Heartbreak shared at 'highway of tears' symposium

No evidence of serial killer in BC

Women either found dead or are missing: 

Cynthia Frances Maas, 35, remains were found in Prince George's L C Gunn Park on Oct. 8, 2010.  Maas was last seen alive on Sept. 10.

Police looking for clues   Search of area complete   Human remains found   On Oct 17, 2011 Cody Legebokoff was charged with her murder.  Man accused of being a serial killer

   

Aielah Katherina Saric-Auger, 14, a student at DP Todd Secondary School in Prince George, was last seen by her family on Feb. 2, 2006.  Her remains were found on the side of Highway 16, near Tabor Mountain east of Prince George Feb. 10.  

Family statement: Aielah Saric-Auger   14-year old girl murdered  

Crystal Lee Okimaw, 24, disappeared on Jan. 16, 2006 from the Prince George area, remains missing.  She was last spotted at a local women's shelter.   She is not listed as part of the investigation.

Tarmara Chipman, 22, of Terrace who was last seen at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 21, 2005, hitchhiking near an industrial park on Highway 16 in Prince Rupert.

Nicole Doreen Hoar, 25, a tree planter, who was last seen hitchhiking to Smithers on June 21, 2002, near the outskirts of Prince George on Highway 16.   The search for her covered an area in excess of 24,000 square kilometres with more than 8000 kilometres of highway, secondary roadways, forestry roads, recreational trails and campsites.   A sixth family feels the pain   Owners allowed to return   Search area expended

Deena Lyn Braem was last seen on September 25, 1999 hitchhiking to her home in Bouchie Lake from Quesnel.  Her body was recovered on December 10, 1999 north west of Quesnel near Pinnacles Provincial Park.  The subsequent autopsy confirmed she had been murdered.   She is not listed as part of the investigation.

Wendy Ratte, 44, a substitute teacher, who went missing from downtown Prince George in On the morning of Aug 18, 1997.  Wendy Ratte dropped her husband off for work and then she simply vanished. She is not listed as part of the investigation.   Her husband Denis Ratte was charged in 2008, after he confessed to police during a so-call Mr. Big police sting operation.  On Nov 3, 2010 Ratte was convicted of second-degree murder for shooting his wife in the head and dumping her naked body in a swamp.  Man sentenced

Lana Derrick, 19, was last seen getting into a vehicle at a service station in Thornhill, near Terrace, on Oct. 7, 1995. 

Ramona Lisa Wilson, 15, of Smithers disappeared June 11, 1994 while hitchhiking near Smithers. Her body was found in April of 1995 near the Smithers airport. 

Roxanne Thiara, 15, went missing in Prince George on the July long weekend in 1994. She had worked as a prostitute and told a friend she was going out with a customer. She walked around the corner of a building and was never heard from again. Her body was found Aug. 17, 1994, in the bush along Highway 16, six kilometres east of Burns Lake. 

Alishia Germaine, 15, was found dead on Dec. 9, 1994, by three teenage boys behind an elementary school in Prince George. Germaine, part native, had worked previously as a prostitute, but friends claimed she stopped work two weeks before her stabbing death. 

Delphine Nikal, 16, from Smithers was last seen June 14, 1990 while hitchhiking east to Telkwa.

Alberta Gail Williams, 27 vanished on Aug. 27, 1989.  Her body was found Sept. 25, 1989 near Prince Rupert.

 

 

 

Shelly-ann Bascu - Missing, Hinton, Alta.  1983

 

 

 

Maureen Mosie - Homicide, Kamloops   1981

 

 

 

Monica Jack - Homicide, Merritt   1978

 

 

Colleen MacMillen, 16, was last seen alive hitchhiking in 1974 along Highway 97 near Lac La Hache, BC, on her way to see friends.  Police say the DNA of deceased convict Bobby Jack Fowler was found on her body. 

 

Monica Ignas, 15, of Thornhill, went missing Dec. 13, 1974.  Her partially nude body was found in a gravel pit on April 6, 1975, about six kilometers from Terrace. She had been strangled.

 

 

Pamela Darlington - Homicide, Kamloops   1973

Police suspect Bobby Jack Fowler may be responsible for her death.

 

 

Gale Weys - Homicide, Clearwater   1973

Police suspect Bobby Jack Fowler may be responsible for her death.

 

 

 

Micheline Pare - Homicide, Hudson's Hope   1970

 

 

Gloria Moody - Homicide, Williams Lake   1969

Fitting the profile

by Bernice Trick

Prince George Citizen

Feb. 18, 2006

A serial killer is involved in at least three of the disappearances of females along Highway 16 West, according to two retired RCMP officers.

Fred Maile, who now works on a contract basis for the RCMP in Grande Prairie, Alta., as a reader analyst, said his theory is that four of the girls who disappeared between 1990 and 1995 met foul play by the same individual.

In late 1995, Maile attended a Prince George meeting with a group of crime profilers looking into the disappearances of five First Nations girls between 1990 and 1995. At the time, Maile was working on behalf of the Missing Children's Society of Canada.

"We spent three to four days going over every detail (of the cases). As a result, the consensus of the group was that three, we could say, appeared to have the same individual responsible," Maile said.

The three were Ramona Wilson, 15, Roxanne Thiara, 15 and Alishia Germaine,15.  However, Maile, who now works as a private detective, said he would also add Delphine Nikal, 16, to that list. "There's no doubt in my mind Ramona Wilson and Delphine Nikal are connected as well," he said.

Delphine, from Smithers, disappeared in June 1990, and has never been found.

Ramona, who is also from Smithers, vanished in June 1994. Her remains were found in April 1995 in a wooded area near Smithers.

"Delphine's body has never been found, but if it ever is, my guess is her remains will be just off that Highway 16 similar to Ramona," he said. "Just the way they were both scooped off that highway. They were both from Smithers, both walking on Highway 16 West at 10 or 11 p.m. They were both Native and about the same age." 

He said there's no doubt a vehicle was involved in both cases. 

Roxanne went missing in July 1994, from Prince George. Her body was found in August of the same year along Highway 16 near the Burns Lake airport. 

Alishia was found in December 1994 behind an elementary school in Prince George. 

"There's a certain scenario that this type of rapist, serial killer adheres to. They look for an opportunity like young girls hitchhiking," said Maile, who believes the killer is familiar with Highway 16, the communities along it and perhaps makes himself familiar to the young girls and is able to convince them to get into his vehicle. 

"I have no problem saying there is an individual that has caused the death of two or three of the girls," Maile said. 

He added the four years that passed between the disappearances of Delphine and Romona "doesn't mean too much. The individual could have been in jail or working somewhere else," he said. "What I do know is that you don't very often in a community get two, three or four serial killers at the same time." 

When asked about rumours of many more girls going missing over the years, Maile said "I've heard the same rumours about girls from Prince Rupert that were hitchhiking and disappeared, but when you try to track it down, it goes nowhere." 

"I know a lot of them aren't reported to police for whatever reasons. I don't buy the reason that the police won't do anything. That's not true. I've been there, and anytime we had something like that, we put a lot of effort into trying to solve it. The problem is when nobody is able to give you any information, there's not much you can do." 

He said part of the problem is that we're dealing with "such a huge area and (police) resources are limited." 

Maile did not want to speculate as to whether a serial killer is responsible for any of the missing cases after 1995, such as that of 14-year-old Aielah Sarici-Auger. 

The First Nations teen was last seen by her family on Feb. 2. At the time, family members said she stayed overnight with a friend and were told there had been a sighting of her getting into a black van on Feb. 3, but police have not confirmed that. Her body was found a week later on Highway 16 East, about 15 kilometres east of Prince George.

Ron MacKay, a retired RCMP forensic behavourial analyst, who headed the group of profilers in 1995, concurs with Maile's comments. 

"There is little I can add to what Fred said," MacKay said from Ottawa. "He was working on some of the cases at the time as a private investigator, and I had full confidence in his ability, ethics and confidentiality." 

MacKay said the profilers felt there "was enough similarities at that time to show that two, and possibly three, of the girls could have the same offender." 

He said one factor that made it more difficult was the decomposition of the bodies of Ramona and Thiara. 

He added in the vast area where the crimes were committed "there are high-risk people with high-risk lifestyles." 

He said about 90 per cent of crimes are solved by information received from the public, but when little or no information comes forth, it's tough for authorities to do their job. 

The 1995 profilers, who came together to brainstorm cases by examining every detail and reaching a consensus, was named Project Exclude. The group included Maile, MacKay, Inspector Kate Lines of the Ontario Provincial Police, and three profile understudies, who have all gone on to become professional profilers. 

Maile served 25 years in the RCMP in B.C., including eight years in E. Division's serious crime unit in Vancouver. 

©Copyright 2006 Prince George Citizen 

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