Robert Pickton

From Academic Kids

Robert William "Willie" Pickton (born 1950) is a pig farmer from the city of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada who has been charged with the first degree murders of 27 women, and is implicated, as of January 28, 2004 in the murders of up to 31 women, many of them prostitutes from the Downtown Eastside district of the city of Vancouver. The government has indicated it plans to bring at least 7 more murder charges against him in the coming year, and new DNA evidence continues to be unearthed at his farm. Pickton was first arrested in February 2002.

Background

Pickton and his brother David Francis Pickton ran a registered charity called the Piggy Palace Good Times Society, a non-profit society whose official mandate was to "organize, co-ordinate, manage and operate special events, functions, dances, shows and exhibitions on behalf of service organizations, sports organizations and other worthy groups." According to investigators, the "special events" convened at Piggy Palace — a converted building at the hog farm — were "drunken raves that featured 'entertainment' by an ever-changing cast of Downtown Eastside prostitutes."

Picton first came to the attention of police in 1997 when he was charged with attempted murder. The charges were subsequently dropped. Later, police would search the farm, but found nothing.

In February of 2002 police again searched the farm, this time uncovering DNA evidence matching that of a missing woman. Pickton was arrested on February 22, charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Three months later 3 more charges were added, and shortly after that a sixth and seventh. In October, 4 more charges were added, bringing the total to 15, and again in May 2005 12 more charges were added, bringing the total to 27.

Excavations at the pig farm are ongoing. Forensic analysis is very difficult because the alleged victims may have been left to decompose or their bodies were eaten by insects and pigs in the farm. During the early days of the excavations forensic anthropologists brought in large construction machinery, conveyor belts, and soil sifters to find traces of remains. On March 10, 2004, details were revealed that human flesh of Pickton's victims may have been ground up and mixed with pork from the farm. That pork was never distributed commercially, but was handed out to friends and visitors of the farm.

Pickton is emerging as Canada's worst serial killer. His trial is expected to start in late 2004. He is suspected of murdering many of the 69 women who have disappeared from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside in recent years.

Victims

Pickton is charged in the murders of the following women:

  • Mona Wilson, 26 when she was last seen in November 2001.
  • Sereena Abotsway, 29 when she disappeared in August 2001.
  • Jacqueline McDonell, 23 when she was last seen in January 1999.
  • Diane Rock, 34 when last seen in October 2001.
  • Heather Bottomley, 25 when she disappeared in April 2001.
  • Andrea Joesbury, 22 when last seen in June 2001.
  • Brenda Wolfe, 32 when last seen in February 1999.
  • Georgina Papin, last seen in 1999.
  • Jennifer Furminger, last seen in 1999.
  • Helen Hallmark, last seen in 1997.
  • Patricia Johnson, last seen in March 2001.
  • Heather Chinnock, 30 when last seen in April 2001.
  • Tanya Holyk, 23 when last seen in October 1996.
  • Sherry Irving, 24 when last seen in 1997.
  • Inga Hall, 46 when last seen in February 1998.
  • Marnie Frey, last seen August 1997
  • Tiffany Drew, last seen December 1999
  • Sarah Devries, last seen April 1998
  • Cynthia Feliks, last seen in December 1997
  • Angela Jardine, last seen in November 1998
  • Diana Melnick, last seen in December 1995
  • Debra Jones, last seen in December 2000
  • Wendy Crawford, last seen in December 1999
  • Kerry Koski, last seen in January 1998
  • Andrea Borhaven, last seen in March 1997
  • Cara Ellis, last seen in January 1997
  • Jane Doe (remains found but not identified)

Pickton is implicated in the murders of the following women, but charges have not as yet been laid (incomplete list):

  • Yvonne Marie Boen, reported missing in March 2001
  • Dawn Teresa Crey, reported missing in December 2000
  • Unidentified woman 1
  • Unidentified woman 2

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