RCMP Sergeant Lierre Lemaitre updates media on Highway of Tears investigation
Prince George, B.C. - RCMP have added nine more names to the file of murdered or missing women along B.C.’s highways.
Initially, the investigation focused on Highway 16, but some of the cases added are communities along Highway 97.
Sergeant Pierre Lemaitre of the RCMP says the investigation has expanded to include cases as far south as Kamloops and Merritt, and as far east as Hinton Alberta.
Over the past year, the review of the cases used geographic and criminal profiling as well as the Violent Criminal Link Analysis System to check for anything that would be common to all the cases. After reviewing 200 cases, the investigation is now focusing on 18 cases.
When asked if police believe if the murders and disappearances are the result of a serial killer, Lemaitre would only say, “I would hope not”
Some of the cases that have been added to the list date back as far as 38 years.
Lemaitre says they haven’t made any arrests, and won’t say if they have any suspects, but they are asking the public to come forward with any information that might assist in this investigation. “We know there are people out there who know something, it may be a waitress who overheard a conversation, or maybe you heard something at a drinking establishment, it may seem like nothing to you, but those little tips, little bits of information are invaluable to us.”
Lemaitre says investigators met with family members of the murdered and missing yesterday and coverage of the update on this case did spark “dozens of tips”.
He says despite what some may think, the RCMP has enough resources and sufficient funding for this case “We are working towards ensuring who ever is responsible for this, is brought to justice.”
Anyone with information can contact their nearest RCMP detachment or contact CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS
The cases being investigated as part of this special probe are as follows:
1. Gloria MOODY - Homicide Williams Lake - 1969
2. Micheline PARE - Homicide Hudson Hope - 1970
3. Gale WEYS - Homicide Clearwater - 1973
4. Pamela DARLINGTON - Homicide Kamloops - 1973
5. Monica IGNAS - Homicide Terrace - 1974
6. Colleen MacMILLEN - Homicide One Hundred Mile House - 1974
7. Monica JACK - Homicide Merritt - 1978
8. Maureen MOSIE - Homicide Kamloops - 1981
9. Shelly-ann BASCU - Missing Hinton Alberta - 1983
10. Alberta WILLIAMS - Homicide Prince Rupert - 1989
11. Delphine NIKAL - Missing Smithers - 1990
12. Ramona WILSON - Homicide Smithers - 1994
13. Roxanne THIARA - Homicide Burns Lake - 1994
14. Alishia GERMAINE - Homicide Prince George - 1994
15. Lana DERRICK - Missing Terrace - 1995
16. Nicole HOAR - Missing Prince George - 2002
The investigation into the disappearance of Tamara Chipman and the homicide investigation of Aielah SARIC AUGER are being conducted by the local agencies. Reviewers have been and continue to be in contact with investigators from the CHIPMAN and SARIC AUGER investigations.
17. Tamara CHIPMAN - Missing Prince Rupert - 2005
18. Aielah SARIC AUGER - Homicide Prince George - Feb 2006
Posted on Friday, October 12, 2007 12:59 PM in News by 250 News
RCMP step up investigation into 18 dead or missing women along Highway 16 in northern B.C.
Published: Friday, October 12, 2007
A total of 18 women have mysteriously vanished or been murdered along Highway 16 in Northern B.C. since 1969, RCMP revealed today at a press conference in Prince George.
There has been talk for years about the "highway of tears" that connects Prince George to the west coast, that women had gone missing and no one cared.
The RCMP announced last year that it would take a look at the puzzling disappearances and deaths, and today said they are "currently conducting an extensive review of files of women who have been murdered or who have gone missing," said Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre in a press release.
"The scale and scope of the review makes it one of the larger on-going projects in B.C.," Lemaitre said. "Based on a set of search parameters set out by investigators, a number of cases were identified along major highways in Northern British Columbia.
"The review of these investigations are all being conducted in the same three-phase review process of collection, collation and analysis. Each one of these cases has remained open over the years. These cases have undergone extensive investigations in the past and have undergone periodic reviews," he said.
"The current review of these investigations are being conducted by investigators from the E Division Major Crime Section including geographic and criminal profilers, and ViCLAS (Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System). Investigators have consulted with the Forensic Lab in Vancouver regarding the re-examination of exhibits originally seized in the investigations.
"While the number of files have increased, at this time, police are not discounting or supporting the theory that these cases have been committed by one individual," the release said.
The cases under review which have been included in the investigation are:
. Gloria Moody - Homicide, Williams Lake - 1969
. Micheline Pare - Homicide, Hudson Hope - 1970
. Gale Weys - Homicide, Clearwater - 1973
. Pamela Darlington - Homicide, Kamloops - 1973
. Monica Ignas - Homicide, Terrace - 1974
. Colleen MacMillen - Homicide, One Hundred Mile House - 1974
. Monica Jack - Homicide, Merritt - 1978
. Maureen Mosie - Homicide, Kamloops - 1981
. Shelly-ann Bascu - Missing, Hinton, Alberta - 1983
. Alberta Willians - Homicide, Prince Rupert - 1989
. Delphine Nikal - Missing, Smithers - 1990
. Ramona Wilson - Homicide, Smithers - 1994
. Roxanne Thiara - Homicide, Burns Lake - 1994
. Alishia Germaine - Homicide Prince George - 1994
. Lana Derrick - Missing, Terrace - 1995
. Nicole HOAR - Missing, Prince George - 2002
. Tamara Chipman - Missing, Prince Rupert - 2005
. Aielah Saric Auger - Homicide Prince George - Feb 2006
Published: Friday, October 12, 2007
Police expected to expand Highway of Tears investigation
CanWest News Service
Friday, October 12, 2007
Police are expected to announce today that an RCMP task force will expand its probe into the murders and disappearances of women on a stretch of road known as the Highway of Tears.
Police have been investigating eight cases of women who have gone missing or been killed on Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert from 1989-2005.
They are now expected to announce the number of cases being investigated will rise.
Sgt. Phil Lemaitre said an update of the ongoing review will be provided in Prince George today. He said no charges or arrests have been made in the cases. Prince George Mayor Colin Kinsley said he hopes this means even more resources will be put toward solving the murders and disappearances along the Highway of Tears.
He told Global BC: "It's our hope, not that there hasn't already been great resources, that with these added numbers it'll bring greater attention and resources to the case."
Gladys Radek, whose niece Tamara Chipman, 22, went missing on the Highway of Tears, said she's excited that the families are finally getting a response to their quest.
Besides Chipman, the RCMP has been investigating the murders or disappearances of these women: Delphine Nikal, 15; Ramona Wilson, 15; Roxanne Thiara, 15; Leah Alisha Germaine, 15; Lana Derrick, 19; Nicole Hoar, 25; and Aielah Katherina Saric, 14.
© The Vancouver Sun 2007
Highway of Tears posting nears end
FRANK PEEBLES Citizen staff
Friday, 05 October 2007, 04:00 PST
On Oct. 20 the contract runs out for the first and only Highway of Tears co-ordinator, the position invented to make sure the many recommendations in the Highway of Tears Report are carried out.
Lisa Krebs was hired one year ago to begin that process. With 33 recommendations, 1,000 kilometres of highway (plus adjacent communities), several branches of government, multiple First Nations, various policing and health agencies, the large number of loved ones of the missing and murdered women, and a wide variety of other stakeholders, Krebs has had a full year.
The question advocates are asking now is: Will there be a second year for the position? There has so far been no such announcement from the provincial government.
"I believe there will be," said Krebs, who has been in recent meetings on that topic but has not been informed of the results. "I think that will be known by the end of October."
In the meantime, the issues connected to the Highway of Tears march on. On Oct. 11 in Smithers, provincial RCMP officials will meet again with family members of the missing and murdered women for whom the Highway of Tears term developed. Krebs will also meet with the same families that day with a progress report of her own.
The bulk of the year was spent doing initial outreach to the many communities along Highway 16 from Prince Rupert past Prince George. Four community forums were held, all with a heavy emphasis on youth. Such symposiums were conducted earlier in Fort St. James, Moricetown, Fraser Lake-Stellat'en, and Hazelton with Burns Lake's coming up on Oct. 19 and 20, followed by Terrace, Prince Rupert, and perhaps New Aiyansh or similar community in the Skeena region later this fall.
"We re getting some rather shocking stats on the number of youth using the highway for hitchhiking," Krebs said. "I've seen more than I care to of 'More Than Two Times' or 'More Than Three Times' per month."
The forums have also provided information on services for victims of violence or exploitation, Victim Services, how to become a Victim Service volunteer, information on the supports available in each area, the history of colonialism, how stereotyping occurs and other topics all delivered in a youth-orientated manner.
The Highway of Tears Report was released in June 2006 after a symposium in Prince George three months earlier. The input of that symposium was compiled and analyzed and the 33 recommendations emerged. It became Krebs' job to tackle the ways of implementing the recommendations.
Local singer to perform at vigil for missing women
Wednesday, 03 October 2007, 04:00 PST
CHRISTINE SKOREPA Citizen staff
A local singer/songwriter, who lost one of her dearest friends to the Highway of Tears, will perform her original song at an international vigil in Vancouver Thursday.
Kathy Frank, who was friends with Ramona Wilson of Smithers, will honour her in song during the vigil for the missing and murdered women of Canada, and the world.
Frank was invited to sing when the organizer of the international vigil, Gladys Radek, heard her song, Highway of Tears, which was available on the Highway of Tears website.
Frank said she wouldn't miss the event for anything.
"I'm going down to the vigil because I feel it's important for the families and friends of the missing women to hear the song," she said. The families need to know that people still care, she added.
"Ramona meant a lot to me and it's important to honour her."
This Vancouver vigil will be held in conjunction with nine others in Canada, one in Peru and one in Colombia, where indigenous women are experiencing the same sort of tragedy.
"This vigil will bring awareness not only in our communities but all around the world and that's important," Frank said. "Things have to change and people need to know that these things are happening all over the world."
It's been 14 years since Ramona Wilson went missing and it still brings a lump to Frank's throat when she thinks of her lost friend. She said it will be especially hard to keep her emotions in check at the vigil.
"I'm worried about getting through the song -- it's going to be very emotional to sing it in front of the family members who have lost their loved ones," Frank said.
According to Radek, there are more than 500 missing and murdered aboriginal women across Canada, with 114 of those from two main areas of British Columbia, Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert, and the downtown eastside of Vancouver.
The vigil, sponsored by the Sisters in Spirit Campaign and the Native Women's Association of Canada, followed by a barbecue, will be held at Crab Park on Waterfront Road from 1 to 5:30 p.m. with a benefit to be held at the Yale Hotel, in the blues club, on Granville St. beginning at 8 p.m. There will be a silent auction and raffles to raise funds, with proceeds going to the Highway of Tears investigation.
Highway of Tears investigation sees progress
Wednesday, 03 October 2007, 04:00 PST
FRANK PEEBLES Citizen staff
Fall marks the anniversary of these two girls disappearing in separate incidents at either end of the Highway of Tears.
Braem was murdered - reported missing on Sept. 27, 1999 and her body found in a wooded area 10 months later. She had been hitchhiking on North Fraser Drive heading towards her home at Bouchie Lake near Quesnel. That night she was celebrating her 17th birthday.
Chipman disappeared while hitchhiking on Sept. 21, 2005 on Highway 16 between Prince Rupert and Terrace. She has not been seen or heard from since about 4:30 p.m. that day, in the vicinity of the Prince Rupert industrial park. She was 22 at the time.
"The investigation into the disappearance of Tamara Chipman has remained an ongoing and active investigation," said Terrace RCMP Staff Sgt. Eric Stubbs. "In the past year, investigators have made significant progress in eliminating a number of tips as well as concentrating on some more compelling leads. On Sept. 22, 2007, a trained ground search and rescue team assisted police in searching a wooded area east of Prince Rupert. The search did not uncover any meaningful evidence (but the investigation) continues to take positive steps."
Sgt. Gary Clark-Marlow of the Quesnel RCMP said Braem's case is one of their detachment's priority cases.
"Several citizens have come forward in the past and have confirmed seeing Deena on North Fraser Drive near Bartels Trailer Park between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.," Clark-Marlow said. "With their information the police have been able to put together a few details on her last known activities before she disappeared."
Two males were also seen in the area. They are described as in their late teens or early 20s, both wearing dark baggy pants, both about 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10, one had on a ball cap and a bomber jacket, the other may have been wearing a green jacket. They are believed to have talked to Braem.
"Try to recall where you might have been in the early morning hours of Sept. 25, 1999," said Clark-Marlow. "It was raining and cold. It was dark."
Braem was wearing a blue-grey hooded jacket, jeans, and was carrying a backpack.
It is not known what Chipman was wearing at the time of her disappearance, but she had very short brown hair and frequently mixed up her wardrobe with wigs of various colours.
Anyone with information on Braem, Chipman or any other Highway of Tears case is asked to call the RCMP (561-3300) or the free, anonymous Crime Stoppers tips service (1-800-222-TIPS / www.pgcrimestoppers.bc.ca).