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February 4, 2002 – The missing sex-trade workers task force in Vancouver is now looking at two unsolved murders on the North Shore for clues. Investigators are probing details from two murders in 1990 and 1996. Mary Lidguerre, 31, a drug user and prostitute, was found dead in August 1996 near Mount Seymour Road. The body of another woman, Bonnie Whalen, 32, was discovered nearby six years earlier in April 1990. “There is some very valuable information we’ve collected from those investigations that may benefit the 50 missing women,” said Constable Cate Galliford, a spokesperson for the task force.
January 2002 – Task force officers added five more women to list, bringing total number of missing sex-trade workers to 50.
December 12, 2001 – Witnesses told police that Green River Killer suspect, Gary Leon Ridgway, spent time in and around Vancouver where 45 women have disappeared. Ridgway’s neighbors said he and wife Judith constantly traveled in their motor-home to British Columbia and Oregon. Following Ridgeway’s arrest, Canadian investigators visited authorities in Seattle to gather information about the suspect. Vancouver Detective Jim McKnight said police and RCMP have taken statements from Vancouver prostitutes who said they recognized Ridgway. “There’s some indication that he was in B.C.,” McKnight told Seattle’s KING-TV. “I can’t be too specific because I don’t know for sure yet.” The Vancouver disappearances, which victim-wise are very similar to the Seattle cases, began in 1984, at about the same time that the Green River killings ended. Police said they are investigating 600 potential suspects, 100 of which are considered high priority, including Ridgway.
December 5, 2001 – Two months after The Vancouver Sun said the number of missing Downtown Eastside women was much bigger than the official tally of 27, the Vancouver police department released photos and names of 18 additional women, bringing the total of potential victims to 45. But while police are asking for the public’s assistance in finding out what happened to the women, Vancouver police detective Scott Driemel said they are still not formally added to the original list of 27 names. “If efforts fail to locate these women, their names will be added to the existing list of missing women,” he told a packed news conference.
Families of the newly identified women, who went missing between 1985 and last August, said they were happy to finally have their loved ones’ disappearances publicized. But they also wondered why it has taken so long to get the names and photographs released.
The most recent disappearance on the list is that of Serena Abbotsway, last seen August 1. Her aunt told The Sun that Abbotsway, who disappeared weeks before her 30th birthday, had a difficult childhood and spent years in foster care before ending up in the Downtown Eastside. “I think she is basically one of those people who has been misplaced all of her life,” said her aunt, who asked not to be named. Others who went missing in 2001 are Angela Joesbury, who disappeared in June, Heather Chinnock, who went missing in April and Patricia Johnson, who vanished in March.
Dawn Crey and Debra Jones disappeared in 2000, while Georgina Papin, Brenda Wolfe, Jennifer Furminger and Wendy Crawford all went missing in 1999. Sherry Irving and Cindy Feliks both disappeared in 1997. Angela Arseneault was a 17-year-old when she was last seen in 1994, while Leigh Miner went missing in 1993. Elsie Sebastien disappeared in 1992, although her case was reported to police only last May. Nancy Clark, also known as Nancy Greek, was last seen in Victoria in 1991. The oldest case on the new list is that of Laura Mah, who went missing in August 1985, but her disappearance was not reported to police until the summer of 1999.
November 26, 2001 – The task force investigating the missing sex-trade workers from the Downtown Eastside has classified about 100 potential suspects as “high priority,” The Vancouver Sun has learned. In October, police said they had a list of 600 possible suspects that included men from across B.C. convicted of violent attacks against sex-trade workers. The task force has been prioritizing those 600 men, and those at the top of the list are getting closer scrutiny.
The missing women task force is trying to pinpoint suspects by compiling data on sophisticated case management software known as the Specialized Investigative Unit Support System, or SIUSS. It is the same system police used during the Abbotsford Killer case. The software allows investigators to analyze thousands of pieces of information by entering each piece of evidence in the computer — which can determine in seconds whether a person has surfaced previously during the case.
September 23, 2001 – Vancouver police investigating the disappearance of 31 street prostitutes from the city’s drug-infested red-light district said the number of missing women could be much higher. Two years ago, Vancouver police released a reward poster with the names of 31 women, most of whom were involved in drugs and the sex trade, who had disappeared from the Downtown Eastside. Though four of the original 31 missing women have reappeared, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police — who has joined the Vancouver police to form joint task force to replace Vancouver’s stalled investigation — found an additional 18 cases that fit the victim profile.
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