Robert (Willie) Pickton.
September 20, 2002 12:48 PM   Subscribe

Robert (Willie) Pickton. Now charged in the murder of 11 Vancouver-area eastside prostitutes. Not sure if many outside of Canada have heard of this man. They've been digging up his pig-farm for months now and they keep uncovering more victims (now as many as Clifford Olson). There's still a lot more to search and a lot more women missing. How long have they known about this guy and when will the gruesome discoveries end?
posted by trillion (16 comments total)
"known" != "have evidence to indict"
posted by yerfatma at 1:03 PM on September 20, 2002

good link, I live in downtown Van and have known about the case but not particularly followed it.
I gotta say, when I first heard the news about the 'pig farm' my thoughts went right to the quote, "never trust a man with a pig farm" from the movie Snatch, and the accompanying explanation.
It's also sort of scary how easy it is to get away with murder if you pick your victims right (read drugged-up prostitutes from bad neighbourhoods, bonus if Aboriginal), because it's true, nobody cares.
Try to get away with that plucking pretty white girls from Kits or Chaunecy.
posted by imaswinger at 1:45 PM on September 20, 2002

s'truth, but at the same time, they never did make much of an effort to investigate the leads. This nutjob could have been picked up a *LOT* sooner than he was.

As I was walking back from work the other day I got to thinking about Pickton. I couldn't figure out at all, not the tiniest little bit, how he could actually kill some one. It's such an alien idea to me. To deliberately set about getting a living human into your home, so that you can kill her for thrills. My god. Sick beyond my comprehension.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:47 PM on September 20, 2002

you can't edit a post can you..
it's Shaughnessy (or something similar), not at all Chaunecy (don't know what the hell I was thinking when I typed that)... and also unless you live in Vancouver you wouldn't know the neighbourhoods anyways (although it's probably pretty obvious).
posted by imaswinger at 2:03 PM on September 20, 2002

Twenty years ago, when I was starting university in Vancouver, they were trying to figure out where all the prostitutes were disappearing to.

It's truly pathetic that it took them this long to track this animal to his burrow, but I suppose it's a good thing that they did find him. From what I've heard, hookers had been telling the police tales that could have led them to him years ago, and they weren't following up.


And hey - the eastside's not that bad. Christ, it's probably safer than the best areas in [pick a large American city].
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:01 PM on September 20, 2002

Pickton and his farm had been known by police and sex trade workers for years. I've seen several interviews with women, from the Downtown East Side, who wouldn't go out to his place to "party" because of his reputation. I still can't believe it has taken this long for the police to have finally laid some charges. If I remember right, Pickton was already once acquitted or had charges stayed stemming from a previous attempted murder rap.
posted by btwillig at 8:06 PM on September 20, 2002

stavros you beat me to it. I'd have to agree the eastside isn't that bad comparatively. As a side note, my car has been broken into 6 times since I moved to the west side and not once while living on the east. Go figure.
posted by btwillig at 8:16 PM on September 20, 2002

Perhaps this a classic case of the Law not being able to convict because of lack of evidence, despite the fact that they knew what was going on.

I agree that it's very sad that it went on for as long as it did. I also agree with you, imaswinger, that most people don't care as much as they could because of who got murdered--prostitutes and natives tend to fly under the radar, don't they? You can make good odds on the cops doing more if there were victims from West Van or the British Properties, too. As a matter of fact, the cops would have done more if the victims were from anywhere else but the Downtown Eastside. At least they got him, though.
posted by ashbury at 8:21 PM on September 20, 2002

It seems to me the Downtown Eastside's getting smaller all the time, with all the new Condo's in the area. The hookers and the addicts are indeed under the radar. It's only when the prostitutes move to another - read safer - neighbourhood that they get noticed, as everyone bands together to move 'em out.
posted by Bearman at 9:07 PM on September 20, 2002

What's even more appalling, is that this man knew a serial killer was at work well before his superiors were willing to admit it. The victim's families deserve a full and open inquiry in to how the police handled this investigation.
posted by btwillig at 9:39 PM on September 20, 2002

"This website is dedicated to these women"
posted by todd at 10:35 PM on September 20, 2002

btwillig: "lack of political will" being the operative term in the above-linked article. The big question being - why is prostitution not regulated? why are these girls being left to the mercy of pimps and worse? who benefits? are we supposed to pretend it's just *not happening*? Like, why is prostitution even illegal? Because it's "immoral"?

sorry, I'll never figure out the rules here in the nightmare dimension....
posted by dinsdale at 7:12 AM on September 21, 2002

Good questions dinsdale. Here in Vancouver, you can flip through the yellow pages and fine dozens of "escort services" and "massage parlours" that are all registered business who pay taxes to both city and provincial coffers. No one is under the illusion that these places are anything but fronts for prostitution. Yet, these same levels of government criminalize street workers, putting their lives at further risk. Recently, this woman tried to set up a safe house for street workers but the city was quick to shut her down.
Is the issue poverty? Why isn't the city willing to legalize prostitution and make tax dollars from street workers like it does from the escort agencies? I suspect it has something to do with the optics.
posted by btwillig at 9:27 AM on September 21, 2002

I don't know the figures at all, but it's somewhere along the lines of....
- massage (non-sexual) parlor license $200/year
- massage (sexual) parlor license $10,000
again, not sure if that's right, but it's what I heard...
posted by imaswinger at 2:45 PM on September 21, 2002

I second the comment that the Eastside/Eastend isn't that in comparison to some US inner city neighbourhoods. That said, I can only imagine what the families have suffered, trying to convince the police that their daughters/mothers/sisters were missing, and being told, more or less, that since they were addicts and prostitutes it was no use looking for them. Grim as it sounds, I hope that Pickton turns out to be a serial killer on a huge scale--so that the victims can be accounted for, laid to rest, and the families (try as best they can to) move on.

Oh, and greetings to other Vancouver Mefites.
posted by jokeefe at 12:47 PM on September 22, 2002

... that the Eastside isn't that dangerous in comparison. Augh.
posted by jokeefe at 12:48 PM on September 22, 2002

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