Expect news on highway killings
- Expect news on highway killings
RCMP to update victims' families this weekend
By Sam Cooper, The Province
November 6, 2009
A significant announcement regarding the Highway of Tears murders will be made on Saturday, according to a First Nations leader.
Mavis Erickson of Prince George, a Harvard-educated lawyer named Highway of Tears co-ordinator for the Carrier Sekani group of First Nations, told The Province she is not sure whether the announcement concerns an update on the Highway of Tears investigation, or requests she made at a meeting with Attorney-General Mike de Jong and Solicitor-General Kash Heed in Victoria on Oct. 26, when she pushed for a public inquiry into the Highway of Tears cold cases.
Erickson said she was "cautiously optimistic" coming out of the meeting in Victoria, as de Jong "did not give a flat out no," on the public-inquiry request.
The cases include 18 women, all but one aboriginal, missing from the 750-kilometre stretch of highway between Prince Rupert and Prince George. The RCMP will update families of the women at a meeting in Prince George this weekend, Cpl. Annie Linteau told The Province.
Two months ago, the RCMP excavated an acreage just outside Prince George in Isle Pierre, formerly owned by convicted murderer Leland Switzer, looking for the remains of Nicole Hoar, a 25-year-old tree planter who went missing on the highway just outside Prince George in 2002.
As a result of tips during the dig, they also searched a nearby dump.
Linteau said she cannot comment on whether Hoar's remains were found, or if a break in the case has been made, until she speaks to the families on Saturday.
Erickson said Mark Tatchell, of B.C.'s police services division, told her on Thursday of a pending announcement. Tatchell could not be reached for comment.
The latest murder in the Highway of Tears region was discovered on Oct. 26, as Prince George prostitute Jill Stacey Stuchenko, 35, was found dumped in a remote gravel pit. The Stuchenko investigation is not yet linked to the 18 Highway of Tears cases, RCMP say.
Many in the north believe far more than 18 women have vanished off Highway 16. Erickson said in 40 years, more than 30 women, mostly aboriginal, have gone missing, with not a single charge laid.
"The RCMP hasn't been diligent enough in informing the public about safety," she said. "And the provincial and federal government have been remiss about what's going on."
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]